Ambitious benchmarks across the life-span
EAEA is happy to see that the Communication also addresses groups not or no longer active in the labour market, especially senior citizens, by setting ambitious benchmarks for adult learning across the life-span. This is especially relevant for the benchmark on digital skills: the European Commission says that by 2025, 70% of adults in Europe aged 16-74 should at least have basic digital skills.
New priorities for the European Agenda for Adult Learning
In the Communication, the Commission announces its intention to work with Member States to develop new priorities for the European Agenda for Adult Learning; however, no clear indications are given as to how new priorities will be introduced and when. A continuation of the European Agenda for Adult Learning is essential to achieving the objectives set in the Skills Agenda as well as to deliver on the implementation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Life Skills made a separate flagship action
EAEA is particularly happy that life skills have been made a separate flagship action (Action 8) in the Skills Agenda. The Agenda acknowledges the crucial role of life skills for strengthening a sustainable, socially equitable and resilient Europe. EAEA has been emphasizing the importance of life skills for individual and community development particularly with its ‘Manifesto for Adult Learning in the 21st Century’, but also its contribution to the development of the European LifEComp Framework through the expertise acquired in the European project ‘Life Skills for Europe’.
Individual Learning Accounts proposed as central funding instrument
The Skills Agenda suggests exploring Individual Learning Accounts as financing tools for adult learning and education; however, while EAEA believes that they can be a central financing tool, it must be recognised that they have their limitations as they focus strongly on the demand side of adult learning. Financing instruments should support not only the demand side but also, and above all, the supply side of learning provision in order to increase participation levels in adult learning and education.
EAEA’s key demands
The European Association for Adult Learning will be happy to support the European Commission, wherever possible, in developing the key actions proposed in the Skills Agenda, but will also hold the European Commission accountable for their implementation. EAEA urges the European Commission to present its plans for the continuation of the European Agenda for Adult Learning as soon as possible, so that the Agenda can be anchored in the European Education Area. Secondly, EAEA calls on the Commission to ensure adequate funding for adult learning and education that supports the supply side of learning provision. Finally, EAEA calls on Member States to work with adult learning providers and civil society in the field of non-formal adult learning to develop adult learning strategies in order to fully implement the Skills Agenda.
Text: EAEAPhotos: European Commission