While EU initiatives and policy documents, such as the European Agenda for Adult Learning, called on Member States to implement coherent and trans-sectoral adult education strategies already in early 2010s, this is still far from reality. The DIMA project, funded with the support of the Erasmus+ programme, addressed the challenges that still persist at the policy level and developed practical tools that could guide policymakers in designing, implementing and monitoring adult education strategies. The project partners presented the results at an international conference organized in Nicosia, Cyprus on 12 and 13 October 2017.
European challenges and achievements in adult education
“Adult education still remains grossly under-funded across Europe,” said Michael Kenny from the University of Maynooth, Ireland. In his keynote speech, Mr. Kenny looked at the main challenges and trends of adult education in Europe, drawn from the first outputs of the DIMA project: the state-of-the-art report and needs analysis.
These were further elaborated on by Aleksandra Kozyra from EAEA, who highlighted the need for more involvement of a wide range of stakeholders in the policymaking. “It seems that stakeholders only participate in consultation at a needs’ stage, and are rarely involved in other stages, such as monitoring,” she said.
Partners from Ireland, Cyprus, Slovakia and Slovenia also presented their national contexts, where interesting case studies were highlighted.
“The Slovenian Adult Education Master Plan involves seven ministries, which need to report on the programmes and activities as well as the budget spent,” said Peter Beltram from SIAE, Slovenia.
The way ahead
The testing of the outputs, which took place in all partner countries, brought predominantly positive feedback. The toolkit offers a step-by-step guide on how to design, implement and monitor adult education strategies, while the curriculum collects comprehensive learning material on the intricacies of policymaking in adult education. “It could be developed to become an accredited module to study at the university level,” said Mr Beltram.
Other partners pointed out that thanks to the usability of the e-platform, the curriculum can be easily used for e-learning or blended courses.
More information about the project and the outputs is available from the project website.