Non-formal adult learning and education has emancipatory and transformative learning at its core – represented across the traditions of ‘liberal’ adult education, popular education, Nordic ‘folkbildning’ and German ‘Bildung’. The sector’s foundational pillars are built around civic engagement, critical thinking and the promotion of democratic values such as social pluralism and inclusion. It also provides the necessary skills and tools to understand and participate in society. Promoting active citizenship, democracy and participation through ALE is one of the cornerstones of EAEA’s work.
EAEA urges the European Commission to:
- Embrace a holistic approach to democracy that puts a stronger emphasis on the role of civil society, including in lifelong learning and ALE
- Recognise the key role of non-formal adult learning and education (ALE) in providing the skills and competences needed for active citizenship, democratic engagement and critical thinking
- Promote civic education (or ‘citizenship education’) for adults by strengthening this key area of ALE within EU programmes and by allocating specific funding to this area
- Strengthen civil society in ALE by encouraging the creation of national umbrella organisations in countries where they do not exist yet
- Protect the space for civil society, to further encourage EU Member States to interact and consult with civil society all over Europe, and to seek civil dialogue with countries outside of the EU