According to studies, people with higher levels of education are more likely to participate in adult education. Partly this is due to the fact that they are more likely to be in the kinds of jobs where their employers offer training through their companies, but also because they more likely have positive experiences with learning and are therefore more likely to participate voluntarily. At the same time, many groups that would benefit from adult learning, don’t find their way into it.
Adult education organisations have been creative in reaching out to new learners. EAEA Grundtvig Award 2017 celebrated these initiatives. The winners of the award were selected in three categories: national, European and international projects.
A community around literacy in Portugal
The winner of the national category, Letters for Life project, from Portugal, coordinated by the Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, develops workshops to promote literacy, family literacy, digital literacy, empowerment and social inclusion.
It engaged about 60 participants and 20 facilitators, working with groups with diverse levels of literacy. It gathered migrants, Roma people, and elderly people, some of them with early stage dementia. The project managed to create a community around adult literacy in the area.
Supporting inmates in learning
The winner of the European category, Second Chance project, coordinated by CFA Jacint Verdaguer in Spain, focused on prison education. The project was implemented by different professionals with experience in prison education and looked at how collaborative learning can support inmates in their education. The project managed to engage inmates with very different profiles.
The Grundtvig Award jury appreciated the involvement of a group that is traditionally hard to reach as learners. The inmates also took an active role in the learning process and reflected on their ideas about education.
Agricultural skills and social activities in Kenya
The winner of the international category, Ndarugu Community Learning Centre in Kenya, started as a literacy initiative. It recently developed a new approach, encouraging adults to continue learning after gaining basic literacy skills. The centre now teaches new agricultural practice, such as beekeeping.
The programme not only increased self-employment, but also became a community place where different social functions are now organised: parties, camping, weekend activities. The Grundtvig Award jury appreciated the fact that the project goes beyond literacy and engages the community in a long-term perspective.
The winning projects were selected by a jury consisting of EAEA Executive Board Members. The winners were announced on Tuesday evening, 27 June 2017, by the EAEA President Per Paludan Hansen. The awards were given out by the Mayor of Girona Marta Madrenas i Mir.
The award ceremony took place in the Municipal Theatre of Girona and was a part of EAEA’s annual conference “Engaging new learners”. The winners received as prizes miniature replicas of Girona’s famous public landmark, the sculpture “A, B, C, Q” by the Catalan artist Francesc Torres Monsó. EAEA was also nominated as a sponsor of the original sculpture, which is an initiative by the local UNESCO representation.
The winners of the EAEA Grundtvig Awards 2017, as well as other nominees, will be presented in an article series on the EAEA webpage during the summer and autumn. A brochure of the nominees will be published in early autumn.
The first EAEA Grundtvig Award in Adult Education was launched in 2003 by EAEA in order to recognise and celebrate excellence in adult education. It highlights project results that produce new ideas, new partnerships, new methodologies and a new understanding of how we can work in adult learning.
Text: Helka RepoPhotos: Helka Repo