Encouraging a discussion between education and development stakeholders on the challenges and opportunities for non-formal adult education: this was the aim of the advocacy workshop organised by International Council of Adult Education (ICAE), the European Association for Education of Adults (EAEA) and dvv international.
EAEA, ICAE and dvv international Advocacy Workshop was titled "Meeting the challenge: Skills Development and Adult Education in the informal sector" and held on the 4th December at the EAEA premises, Brussels. By gathering representatives from the European Commission (DG EAC and the DG ENLARG), the EESC, the European Parliament and NGOs, the event was successful in initiating a dialogue among actors from different levels.
Participants benefited from an inspiring introduction given by Alan Tuckett – President of ICAE. On one hand he reported on the initiatives undertaken by the UN in the last decades and the challenges which unfortunately still exist; on the other hand he described the ICAE´s priorities and commitments towards the current situation.
Mr Tuckett provoked the audience with some of the dilemmas about education in developing countries: the resistance of the idea that learning coincides with school education; the lack of funding; the weak support given to the UN Millennium Development Goals. Two case studies were then presented, with the aim to look at the challenges and similarities between two very different geographical regions.
Sonja Belete from the German Adult Education Association, dvv international, illustrated a model of using Adult Education and Lifelong Learning for development by presenting the "Integrated Women Empowerment Programme" (IWEP) in Ethiopia. This interesting best practice example allowed the participants to reflect on the necessity of changing some paradigms when running education programmes in developing countries´ contexts. Some fruitful actions that European stakeholders could envisage to contribute to the improvement of the dramatic situation of education in those countries were deepened as well.
Thanks to Anni Karttunen -Nordic Network for Adult Learning, NVL- participants had the opportunity to learn about the Validation of non- and informal learning experiences in the Nordic Countries. Having a closer look at the validation systems in Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Greenland has been instrumental to consider possible ways of proceeding towards the recognition of skills in the developing countries and to contribute to the personal and professional growth of individuals.
The discussion was further enriched by Uwe Gartenschlaeger - dvv international, who described a concept by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of using education for development. Particularly interesting was the key role the Civil Society plays in the described programme. This led to think about the responsibilities each stakeholder has in the implementation of development policies.
Participants´ interest in the event´s innovative approach has strengthened EAEA´s conviction that synergies among different actors are needed for tackling global challenges of adult education. The association commits itself to be the ring of conjunction among the concerned stakeholders and is planning the next event in order to create the base for further cooperation.
Text: Francesca Operti