"You do not have to cross the sea to fetch water, (..) likewise (..) you should not always travel far in order to learn from best practice examples," says professor Gunnar Grepperud to Erica Sahlin, Swedish editor for DialogWeb.
From the Dialog 2005 Journal:
Professor Grepperud praises the Nordic practice in flexible learning and points out the high technical standards, good infrastructure of learning centres and the Nordic tradition of non-formal learning, which are the factors that have supported the fast and qualitative development of flexible learning. In order to keep up the level and continue being in the forefront there is a need, however, for a continuous didactic and organisational support and exchange of best practice with the closest Nordic neighbours.
Ole Stavad, Chairman of the Nordic Council, during the meeting of the Nordic parliamentarians on January 14, 2006 in Stockholm also pointed out the importance of the Nordic cooperation within the European and global cooperation. The Nordic cooperation has the special role of guarding the social and sustainable development issues. The Nordic welfare model in developed national economies and intensive research cooperation should not be an underestimated achievement, states the former Swedish Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson as he stresses the important role of the Nordic cooperation within Europe.
Dissemination of best practice and making Nordic adult learning visible among the closest neighbours as well as in the rest of Europe is the task of the Nordic Network for Adult Learning (NVL) and the publication DialogWeb. The yearly printed version of Dialogue should highlight the most important results and actual themes of the past year. The contributions for the Dialogue 2005 are selected from the 5 web-publications and include articles and interviews provided by all the Nordic DialogWeb editors and a Baltic editor.
The Nordic priorities in the field of adult learning are set by the Steering group for adult learning in the Nordic Council of Ministers, and during the Danish presidency in 2005 have focused on validation, documenting the effects of learning and the quality issues in adult education.
Validation/valuing learning has been the central theme in the Nordic adult learning cooperation in 2005 and in NVL activities as well. Even if the countries are at the different stages of development, rely on different models and methods, there are common interests and challenges. The Nordic Validation Network has been established as the result of a Nordic conference and working seminars, and will take up the important questions of disclosing and increasing the value of validation for the individual, for the sake of further education, personal development or mobility in working life. Mobility and transferability of qualifications are important for the individuals in each country but also for the society on the whole, and the Nordic cooperation in validation has an important role to play in promoting both.
The information work of NVL has been consciously oriented to presenting the diversity of adult learning, both through the DialogWeb and www.nordvux.net
thematic pages. The today´s role of adult education and a lot of different learning arenas lies in supporting the individual learning needs in the best possible way, be it within the education system, at work, in the family or within a penitentiary system. It is for the benefit of the society to have well-educated and active citizens.
Dialog 2005 presents case descriptions about the Nordic language learning among non-nationals, EU transparency initiative, and Baltic practice of e-democracy and OECD Adult Literacy survey. Individual growth and improvement is an important value, and at the same time the broad picture is important. The opinion is supported by Dr. Patrick Werquin, OECD: "(..) the added value of the OECD - to provide an international comparative approach to its member countries and beyond."
The work will continue during the Norwegian presidency for the Nordic cooperation in 2006 through a Nordic research conference on PISA 2003 results, and through NVL networks like a Nordic Alfa-council (Nordisk Alfaråd), the work of Nordic Prison Educators´ Network (Nordisk nettverk for fengselsundervisning) and the Nordic Think-tank on future competences (Nordisk Tänketank om framtidskunskap).
Quality issues in adult learning have been another of 2005 priorities. A broad range of organisations, representing non-formal learning, further training, formal education, research field and the labour market have come together on several occasions during the past year and discussed the ways of measuring and developing quality in adult learning. The quality issues have been discussed in the organisations, relating to the pedagogical practice and methodology, as well as relating to the outputs - qualifications provided by the adult education organisations. Guidance counselling is an important aspect of quality debate among the Nordic adult education organisations and the labour market. Lifelong guidance and counselling is supported by the working group for new initiatives with the representatives from the Ministries of Labour and Education and the Education Authority in Finland.
There are eight DialogWeb issues to come in 2006, which can be followed on www.dialogweb.net
Antra Carlsen, NVL coordinator