What was the main purpose of this project?
“The network was created to inform people about the possibility to participate in lifelong learning. A voluntary based network consists of more than 500 people. Main work is done by coordinators in 15 counties and Tallinn and 16 persons coordinate these voluntary networks. The network aims to popularise adult education and bring information about learning opportunities to Estonian adults. In Estonia we have made progress as far as participation in lifelong learning is concerned. In 2007 the percentage of people participating in lifelong learning was about 7% and now it’s about 17%. In our lifelong learning strategy we have set a goal to reach 20% participation rate by 2020. The problem in Estonia often is that people don’t know enough about the opportunities to get education.”
The network aims to popularise adult education and bring information about learning opportunities to Estonian adults.
How did the project foster cooperations and partnerships?
“The network consists of different stakeholders and partners. We have those who deal directly with education, such as gymnasiums, adult education centres and vocational education schools. As adults often are also employed, we have made contacts with employer confederations, so that the employers would be more aware and educated about the learning opportunities.
In Estonia we have an Adult Education Act which says that the employer has to allow a leave for an employee to participate in adult education, formal or continuing education. However, many enterprises are small in Estonia, so it might be easier for an employer to allow the employee so for the employee to go to, for example, gymnasium three days a week.
We also have good contacts with the village movement. Two thirds of the population live outside of Tallinn, so to reach them, village movements are a good partner. We also have more than 500 libraries in Estonia, so libraries’ associations are a good network to pass on the information about education and its benefits. I also have to emphasize the trust and support from the Ministery of Education and Research in Estonia that we have received. Without the support, this work would be very difficult or even impossible for a non-governmental organisation.”
What was the best practice learnt from this project that you want to share?
“The further we go, it’s getting easier to involve new partners. With many we have just started negotiations with recently. One of the new networks we are reaching out to are the organisations that work with civil service. It would be a good partner to reach especially young adults who are also one of our target groups.”
ANDRAS regional cooperation network
Text: EAEAPhotos: EAEA