The European Year of Citizens 2013 - The challenges and opportunities for adult learning

EAEA and NIACE Conference, 7 June 2013, Leicester, United Kingdom


Across Europe and beyond governments are facing challenges set by the economic crisis. Adult education plays an important role in addressing these — through the provision of basic skills, learning to learn and vocational education. However it has been argued that there is wider crisis that adult educators should concern themselves with in democratic engagement. Across the EU there are many approaches to, and understandings of, citizenship education.

The theme

This conference, organised by NIACE (UK National Institute of Adult Continuing Education) and EAEA (European Association for the Education of Adults), explored the wider role of learning for active citizenship across society and European countries through inputs from across the membership of the EAEA. Key note speeches set the context from academics, policy makers and leaders, alongside practitioner-led workshops on four themes:

  • Basic Skills learning for Active Citizenship
  • Migration, minorities and adult learning
  • Adult learning as a tool for transnational tolerance
  • The role of adult learning in democratic engagement


  • to explore the contribution of adult learning to active citizenship and democratic engagement
  • to compare experience, practice and approaches and make recommendations for local, national and European developments
  • to discuss the issue of European citizenship, democracy and adult learning at a time of crisis


By the end of the conference, participants had the opportunity to

  • hear the latest thinking and policy analysis on the subject of adult learning for active citizenship
  • see practical examples of good practice from across Europe
  • contribute to discussions and a draft set of recommendations

Conference Programme

Presentation materials

Workshop recommendations

Back to EAEA events