Kent Johansson

Senior Advisor of the Swedish Interest Organisation for Popular Movement Folk High Schools (RIO) (Sweden)

Nominated by: Swedish Interest Organization for Popular Movement Folk High Schools (RIO); The Swedish National Council of Adult Education, Folkbildningsrådet; Folkhögskollärarna (Trade union for Folk High School teachers); Studieförbunden i samverkan (The Swedish Adult Education Association).

I am the former president of the Swedish Interest Organisation for Popular Movement Folk High Schools (Rörelsefolkhögskolornas Intresseorganisation, RIO). RIO is the national organisation for the 108 folk high schools run by civil society organisations.

I am also a member of NFR (Nordiska folkhögskolerådet), the organisation for cooperation between the Nordic folk high school organisations. I have been a member of the EAEA board since last congress 2015 in Porto.

How do you want to contribute to the work of EAEA, based on your experience in your organisation?

With roots on a family farm I have been engaged in adult education, civil society and politics at different levels all my life. I have a diploma as a folk high school teacher, I have been an activist in the different branches of the farmers’ movement since my youth, I have had leading positions in national study circle organisations and folk high schools and I have experience of political responsibility and leadership at the local, regional, national and European level.

With these experiences and contacts, I want to continue to serve the work of EAEA. I hope that my knowledge of the EU system can contribute to EAEAs work.

I was former president for the European Association of Regional and Local Authorities for Lifelong Learning (EARLALL 2006–2009), member of the Committee of the Regions (CoR 1996–2011), and member of the European Parliament (2011–2014).

What are your motivations as a board member?

Europe is facing many serious problems: Unemployment, growing gaps, xenophobia and racism, undemocratic movements, climate change and lack of gender equity. I am convinced that adult education is a very valuable tool for dealing with these challenges. The right to education for adults is not only a right in itself but a necessary condition for positive solutions.

As a representative of the Swedish folkbildning movement I want to stress the importance of a holistic approach to adult education. The objectives of adult education are multidimensional and are aiming at personal development, active citizenship, further studies and a stronger position on the labour market for the individual but also for a more inclusive and participatory society. It is very beneficial for the individuals to get and for society to give second chances and to create low thresholds between formal and non-formal education.

Furthermore I want to highlight the importance of the role of civil society in adult education but also the importance of adult education for strengthening civil society.

Which other information about you would you like to share with the EAEA members?

It is important that we develop synergies and contacts between the organizations working within the EAEA and also throughout our whole geographical area and not only within the EU.