On the 29th of June 2016, the EDU-FIN transnational seminar took place at the Representation of Lower Saxony in Brussels. The event was attended by more than 80 adult education practitioners and civil society representatives as well as other stakeholders and policy-makers.
The event was opened by Hike Altona, Lower Saxony Ministry of Social Affairs health, gender mainstreaming and integration and Liliana Rodrigues, Member of the European Parliament from Portugal.
Afterwards Anna Reyes, an EDU-FIN participant from Àgora (Spain), presented the main EDU-FIN results and introduced the round table, composed of learners, educator and researchers from Bulgaria, United Kingdom, Austria, Italy and Spain. The adult education trainers’ representatives agreed on the necessity to adopt a learner-centred approach in and outside the classroom: “Valuing their prior knowledge, their objectives and their needs is key to engage them into the learning process and to assure positive learning outcomes”.
An enriching debate followed their presentations. The event participants demonstrated a high interest both in the EDU-FIN methodology which was extremely participative and democratic as well as in the curriculum on financial literacy the young people involved in the project developed. They expressed a wish to see it implemented in their countries and proposed to lobby for it in the next months.
Participants also called for a stronger commitment of politicians to prevent young people to get indebted and an increased focused on reaching out to women as from their financial understanding families and community would certainly benefit. A broader reflection about the causes for financial illiteracy was also undertaken but participants agreed that more research on that should be carried out in the future.
The EDU-FIN participative process
The two project outputs are interlinked: the participative process described in the EDU-FIN methodology has been developed for the planning and the development of a financial literacy curriculum based on the inclusion of the voices of young adults at risk. In order to include the voice of the most excluded, the consortium used a communicative approach based on the principles of equality, participation and valuing of all participants. The participative process ensures that everybody’s voice could be heard and all participants felt their ideas and needs were important.
The result is that the curriculum’s proposal responds to the specific needs of the young adult at risks and reflects their main learning wishes about financial literacy.
However, what makes this project special and innovative is that the target groups were involved not only in the curriculum development, but also in all the stages of the project: from planning phase to the management and project evaluation.
Some of the target group representatives were also present at the event in Brussels. “Being part of this European project has been a great opportunity: we understood the importance of making our voice heard both in the classroom and in the society”, they said, “and now we hope to be an example for other young adults: networking is the most important thing in reaching them”.
Text: Francesca OpertiPhotos: Helka Repo