26.06.2013 EAEAREPORTS

Economic crisis changes adult education policies

Unemployment and financial difficulties change priorities in policy making. EAEA fortifies advocacy work to defend adult education on European level.

Europe is in crisis that is not only financial; there are different levels to it. It is a social crisis: people are getting excluded at the same time as they lose jobs and their money.

"It is also ethical crisis, because people who suffer the most have not caused the crisis", says Gina Ebner, the Secretary-General of EAEA.

In addition, it is a European crisis; which country should pay the costs?

The EAEA Secretary-General and many other speakers spoke at the European Year of Citizens 2013 Conference in Leicester, UK on 7 June 2013.

Adult education impacted

Youth unemployment has never been as high in Europe as it is today.

"When looking at unemployment rates, it is no wonder that European Union focuses on employability", says Tapio Säävälä, the Head of Sector from the Unit for Vocational Training and Adult Education of the European Commission´s Directorate-General for Education and Culture (DG EAC).

Mass unemployment influences on policymaking: the contents and priorities of adult education policies have changed.

"There has been a shift to specific target groups, e.g. young adults and unemployed and vocational training", Gina Ebner says.

Also the language when talking to policy makers has changed.

"Employability is one of the key words now and through that the benefits of adult learning is easily made clear for decision-makers", Ms Ebner says.

EAEA enhances lobbying

EAEA´s position in the crisis is to defend adult learning through advocacy.

"We have to include the voices of those who are concerned by the crisis", the EAEA President Per Paludan Hansen says.

EAEA also wants to develop its work with EU.

"We need to work on the Renewed European Agenda for Adult Learning, so that we can influence it better", Mr Paludan Hansen tells.

More information:

Presentation slides and workshop recommendations are now available on the Conference website

Text: Aura Vuorenrinne