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Experts take a clear stance to strengthen adult education

Met dank overgenomen van Sloveens voorzitterschap Europese Unie 2e helft 2021, gepubliceerd op donderdag 9 september 2021.

At the two-day virtual conference "Adult education as a resilient response to future challenges", European representatives from the fields of adult education, labour and economy and representatives of EU member states, UNESCO and the European Commission called for an urgent increase in the number of participants enrolled in adult education, for the establishment of a flexible lifelong learning system, and for the active promotion of training courses providing the right competences and skills.

Experts at the event also presented a declaration, responding to the main challenges that have to be addressed to preserve Europe's competitiveness in the future.

Adult education is vital for our future, giving citizens the opportunity to acquire the knowledge, skills and competences to meet the challenges of tomorrow. It contributes to sustainable and inclusive economic growth and improves employment opportunities for individuals.

Simona KustecMinister of Education, Science and Sport

Simona KustecMinister of Education, Science and Sport

During the conference, experts pointed out that the number of participants enrolled in adult education in Europe is low, which means that we will have fewer and fewer suitable staff and that in the long term we will no longer be able to meet all the challenges we face as a society. "Now is a crucial time for us to strengthen this field for Europe's future, which is why we have made adult education one of the priorities of the Slovenian Presidency," said Minister Kustec at the conference.

The conference was organised by the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport together with UNESCO's Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) as part of the Slovenian Presidency. The key message of the declaration of the representatives of the profession attending the conference is that the concept of Lifelong Learning needs to be established and internalised, allowing for a flexible and personalised course of learning for adult education participants.

The 10 professional commitments also advocate the strengthening of a lifelong learning culture and the professionalisation of staff, i.e. all those who provide training. This is because adult education must continuously provide and offer the right competences, skills and knowledge to respond to the needs of the labour market and a rapidly changing world. Experts therefore advocated the need to establish permanent staff training and funding to ensure high quality education. Furthermore, they pointed to the key role of adult education in the green and digital transition, as also observed during the epidemic.

The conference highlighted the need to improve the integration of formal education for young people and adult education. One of the key points of the conference was that effective cross-sectoral integration between education, labour market and the business sector, good international cooperation and exchange of good practices are essential for effective education. The professional commitments set out in the declaration are the profession's commitments at the EU level for action over the next 10 years.

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