ARALE conference

The ARALE Conference took place in Brussels on 2nd and 3rd of October 2013.

The perspective of the learner

“We argued from the perspective of the learner, not the institutions.” This was one of the reasons that Antonius Schröder and others succeeded in convincing the decisions makers to establish a regional campus structure for lifelong learning in Hessen.

Ambitions were not lacking when Antonius Schröder of the Technical University in Dortmund, Germany, started working for “HESSENCAMPUS” of all lifelong learning activities in the region.

“We wanted to implement new overall and comprehensive structural principles of the education system. For that we needed to change from an institutional to a strict learner’s and learning process perspective, “ he told the conference participants.

Inspiration from the USA

To do that, they had to convince the politicians.

“We had our 15 minutes with the minister of culture and education. But I don’t think that made so much difference. More important was that the prime minister of Hessen recently had visited Wisconsin, USA, where he was introduced to exactly such a structure,” said Antonius Schröder.

Mistrust and aggression

For the HESSENCAMPUS to become a reality, a maybe greater challenge was to convince all the existing educational institutions to be part of such a regional structure, which would undoubtedly benefit the learners, but which might limit the freedom of the institutions.

“There was some mistrust and aggression to overcome,” Antonius Schröder admitted.

In 2006 Hessen Campus was initiated through a binding cooperation of mainly public educational institutions. Today 21 out of 23 local authorities are within HESSENCAMPUS with about 200 local actors:

  • 79 schools (mostly adult and vocational schools)
  • 51 training institutions
  • 25 employers associations and employment agencies
  • 13 regional or local administration departments
  • and others.