The EAEA members gathered for the General Assembly held in Brussels on the 18th of June 2014, to discuss adult education, democracy and the future actions of EAEA. In the event also a new board member and new member organisations were introduced.
The Director for the Education & Vocational Training at the Directorate-General of Education & Culture in the European Commission, Mr. António Silva Mendes, opened the event by introducing the participants to some recent developments in the EU policy concerning adult education.
“The new funding programme for education Erasmus + offers great opportunities for cooperation and funding for the European countries,” he stated. He encouraged adult education providers to seek cooperation also with new partners outside the education sector.
“The new funding programme provides more possibilities for innovative partnerships.”
EAEA President Per Paludan Hansen introduced EAEA’s flagship initiative for European Year for Adult Learning. EAEA will be campaigning for adult learning with the theme “the joy of learning”. Mr. Silva Mendes welcomed the initiative saying it could be a good way to promote adult education.
Another guest speaker of the event, Professor Licinio Lima from the University of Minho in Portugal, drew attention to the multidimensional features of adult education. He proposed that adult education should not be seen merely as a medicine or tool for economic competitiveness of Europe.
“Adult education goes way beyond vocational training and skilling for employability and economic competitiveness. Adult education is one of the most relevant contributions to the humanization process of human beings and crucial for democratic improvement, for the quality assessment of democratic practices of citizenship and for bringing more participants to the re-creation of the social world,” he said.
The GA also saw EAEA’s Vice-President Katarina Popovic give her goodbye to the network. Recently appointed as Secretary-General of ICAE, the International Council for Adult education, she will leave the EAEA board. As her successor a new board member was appointed from Serbia. Maja Maksimovic is a teaching assistant at the Department for Pedagogy and Andragogy in the University of Belgrade and is representing Adult Education Society (AES).
“I am excited to become an EAEA board member. I see my role as a messenger who tries to bring up some ideas and needs more visibility in the European discourse,” Ms. Maksimovic said. Read Maja’s interview here.
EAEA is happy to welcome a total of 17 new member organisations to join the association. The new members come from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Norway, Romania, Spain and United Kingdom. The new members introduced themselves at the conference and received membership certificates. The EAEA membership now consists of 126 adult education associations in 42 different countries. Find the EAEA member list here.
Text and photos: Helka Repo