The first days of December EAEA and NVL (The Nordic Network on Adult Learning) organised a large conference in Riga on Equal Opportunities for all. The event attracted some 200 participants from all over Europe, and beyond.
The discussions at the Conference clearly indicated the high priority adult educators give to the topic. In a world where inequalites are growing on the global scale (in social, economical and political terms), no one contests the need for cohesion, access and equal opportunities. In all the discussions it became obvious that adult educators play a central role in facilitating opportunities. This was also the conslusion of the statement drawn up and released during the meeting.
As the topic is almost impossibly wide, and the organisers wished to avoid empty phrases on a too general level, the issue was divided into 6 themes:
- Learning in later life
- Consumers as learners
- Gender issues
- Migration and participation
- Access to full citizenship
- Learning difficulties
Within all themes current trends were presented and analysed. There were many ahaa-moments, such as when the group on Access to full citizenship stated that adult educators should rediscover community education, a core part of our activites in the past.
For many the inclusion of Consumer education was a tough thing to swallow. When the conference was over many had reached a new understanding on how we must broaden our perspectives and understanding. Consumer education is clearly at the heart of equal opportunities.
Below you will find the final statement issued by EAEA and NVL at the end of the conference, as well as the speech of Commisioner Kuneva, who visited the conference.