Adult learning is key for personal development and social inclusion and is also needed to meet the demand for new skills, answer the needs of the labour market but also of life in society and as individuals. The coronavirus crisis has also highlighted the need for health education, building resilience, skills for parents and digital competences (also and especially for older people).
We, therefore, call for a strong adult education and learning policy at European level. Below you will find our recommendations.
A new and strong European Agenda for Adult Learning
Adult learning and education is more than basic skills and more than upskilling for work. ALE plays an important role in health and well-being, active citizenship, democracy, personal development and life skills (see also our Manifesto for Adult Education in Europe).
Since the current agenda will end in 2020 and no continuation of the agenda is currently planned, we see a risk that only parts of adult learning will be considered by European strategies in the future. The Upskilling Pathways are, of course, an important strategy for ALE, but they concentrate on basic and vocational skills. The revised European Skills Agenda, however, includes central objectives of non-formal adult education, especially life skills. It also talks about identifying new priorities for the European Agenda for Adult Learning, although it does not indicate when and how these priorities will be identified and communicated. Whether we are talking about general or liberal adult education or community learning, there is a long tradition of adult education in Europe which deserves to be recognised and supported, not least because it is an important part of the (learning) culture in many European countries.
EAEA proposes a new and strong European Agenda for Adult Education which recognises adult learning as a separate sector of the education system and that covers all aspects of ALE as well as outlines an ambitious plan for the further development of, in particular, community and non-formal ALE.
Make ALE an important part of the European Education Area
The above-mentioned arguments also show that ALE must be included in the European Education Area and be recognised as an important part of it. As non-formal and community learning are often the entry point into more vocational or formal education and training, it is obvious that European education must include adults and their different learning needs (think for example of active ageing and learning of older people in retirement). Adults should also not be forgotten when it comes to key competences.
Support adult education in social media
We invite EAEA members, adult education organisations, providers, learners and educators to use the hashtags #ALEsupporter and #ALEagenda2027 when posting about a future European adult learning and education strategy.
Top image: Andras Malmos on Unsplash