On invitation of the Slovenian Ministry for Education and Sports and organized by dvv international in cooperation with the Slovenian Institute for Adult Education, about 40 experts from Slovenia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo (including guests from Armenia, Belarus, Norway and Czech Republic) convened on the 2nd of June 2011 in Ljubljana in order to identify common regional points of follow up to the international UNESCO Conference on adult learning. This important event was held in December 2009 in Belém, Brazil and by signing the Belém Framework for Action, 144 governments have committed themselves to improve the learning conditions for all adults in order to “equip people with the necessary knowledge, capabilities, skills, competences and values to exercise and advance their rights and take control of their destinies.” Thus they reaffirmed the critical role of lifelong learning in addressing global and educational issues and challenges and the need to enable participation and inclusion.
The regional conference and workshop were an excellent opportunity to share experiences of the good cooperation of different stakeholders (government institutions, civil society organizations, professional associations etc.) of the South Eastern European region in the preparation to CONFINTEA VI in 2008. In the first part of the conference, participants presented the results of the national workshops on implementing and monitoring the further CONFINTEA VI process that had been held in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo and Montenegro throughout February and March of 2011. Examples of good practice already in place in the sector of Adult Education in Slovenia, Czech Republic and Norway further enriched the exchange. Arne Carlsen, recently appointed new director of the UNESCO Institute of Lifelong Learning, based in Hamburg, gave an extensive overview of the developments after the Belém conference, including the CONFINTEA VI follow up communication strategy.
In the interactive part of the conference workshop participants pinpointed the most important issues to be dealt with on a regional level related to the Belém Framework for Action:
- to lobby for and promote adult learning
- to develop a common methodology for collecting data
- to exchange good practice
- to identify common quality standards and benchmarks for adult learning
- and, to continue with the regional cooperation regarding the preparation of the Midterm reports and the CONFINTEA VII preparatory process!
Especially important was the exchange in rotating working groups where all participants had the opportunity to discuss further steps of implementation based on the monitoring matrix of the Belém Framework for Action.
What could be done on a regional level?
Policy, Governance, Financing
- to develop common frameworks and guidelines; to harmonize strategic actions
- to stimulate the exchange of good practice in the different countries
- to build social partnerships – tripartite support
- to develop common programmes of competencies (to enable mobility in the region)
- to develop common quality standards
- to promote lifelong learning (e.g. regional festivals)
- to improve interministerial cooperation
- to share financial responsibility for adult education
- to involve the private sector
- to establish a regional working group on the state of the art, target groups, needs and barriers
- to identify common goals and target groups for participation
- to identify benchmarks on a regional level for participation, literacy and other topics
- to promote literacy (including intergenerational literacy)
- to create a regional forum or portal for the exchange of good practices of participation (esp. marginalized groups) and literacy
- to organize meetings and workshops for experts and learners on a regional level
- to organize regional projects
- to become a member of the European Basic Skills Network
- to involve socially responsible investors
- to develop a common methodology, referring to European standards
- to improve the comparability of qualifications in the region
- to develop a modular approach and credit system
- to develop common criteria and indicators for quality assurance, e.g. to set up a common verification system and common examination centres
- to develop the training of trainers on a regional level and define common competencies (example: Regional Andragogical Academy - ARA of dvv international),
Writing the Mid-term reports
- to set up national teams and create a regional expert group with the task to enable exchange, to clarify the structure and methodology of UIL grids, to collect information from the region and to contact UIL in Hamburg
- to seek financial support (from national level, European Commission, dvv international, UNESCO)
- to start in time with the preparation of the Midterm reports!
- to involve high ranked politicians
- to define arguments to persuade policy-makers
Some of the issues and problems mentioned are subjects of the RCC task force (Regional Cooperation Council within the framework of the South Eastern European Cooperation Process - SEECP). Therefore, cooperation with RCC would be beneficial for the regional implementation and monitoring of the Belém Framework for Action.