We must learn all through life to develop, to get things into perspective and to be able to keep track when the world around us changes. For that reason education and new knowledge must be available for all age groups and social groups. As politicians we must take care of that. For two reasons: To secure the individual persons the best opportunities in life, and to strengthen democracy which thrives when it is based on active, educated and engaged citizens.
I am a big supporter of adult education. It is never too late to learn and to expand your horizon. As a MEP I will support initiatives that makes it possible that we learn from each other across the countries of Europe and that we gather knowledge about what adult education is able to do and how we get the best results out of adult education. The funding possibilities of Erasmus+ for guest teachers and further education of teachers are one example how the EU can contribute in strengthening adult education. Another example is the EU center for vocational traning, CEDEFOP, which among other things makes research into adult education.
Lifelong Learning must be for everybody, both those with many ressources, who participate on their own initiative all through life, and for those groups who need to have the options presented to them to get started. In Denmark we have a strong tradition of “folkeoplysning” [non-formal adult education] and learning based on civil society. It takes place in study associations, civil society associations and residential folk high schools. We must cherish and develop this tradition. At the same time we must also offer formal adult education through the established educational system and AMU (vocational adult education). The Danish government has allocated 1 billion DKK for this purpose in a recent Growth Programme.
I am proud of the Danish tradition of ”folkeoplysning” (see above). In addition to explicit learning it contributes to the non-formal education, based in civil society, very positively to the strengthening of our democracy and the coherence of our local communities. In this way it is an important supplement which also integrates other groups and establish relations in a way that formal education (nationally and EU-funded) not always is able to.
I will draw attention to the Danish experiences where ever it is possible – and I will try to learn about the experiences and traditions of other member countries. I am eager to support the exchange of knowledge and ideas across boarders in this very important area.