The European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) and its members are celebrating 2017 as the Year of Adult Education in Europe, with the theme ‘The Power and Joy of Learning’. The EAEA’s campaign brings together European adult education organisations to demonstrate how adult learning can improve citizens’ lives and prospects in Europe, both on a personal and a professional level.
In this framework, on 1 December 2017, the Department of Education, Research, Culture and Sports in Valencia, Spain, organised a conference celebrating the European Year 2017 for Adult Education. It aimed to bring stakeholders together to discuss and reflect on adult education in the region and exchange experiences about strategies and techniques, as well as existing training materials in this field.
Jaume Fullana, Director General of Valencian Educational Policy, explained that the event programme was designed to follow the six strategic points proposed in the EAEA’s ‘Manifesto for adult learning in the 21st century’:
- Active citizenship, democracy and participation
- Life skills for individuals
- Social cohesion, equity and equality
- Employment and digitalisation
- Migration and demographic change
- European policies.
The day began with a presentation by Victoria Soriano, the Agency’s Assistant Director, on ‘Inclusion, an effective tool against social exclusion and discrimination’. In her keynote speech, Ms Soriano emphasised that inclusion is a major challenge which entails a fundamental change of perspective in all areas of education – not only at school level, but also when it comes to teacher training and the on-going education of teacher trainers.
Ms Soriano presented a series of statistics about inclusive education, as well as adult participation in education in Spain and in other European countries. She highlighted how inclusion in education is essential to achieve social inclusion. Equal opportunities must be available for everyone, not only by having access to education, but also to learning, to achieving results and to full participation in society.
Among the various relevant Agency activities and projects mentioned, Ms Soriano referred to the Profile of Inclusive Teachers, developed within the Agency’s Teacher Education for Inclusion project.