Janos Sz. Tóth

The article by János Sz. Tóth, the new President of the European Association for Adult Education and Executive President of the Hungarian Folk High School Society on the aims and tasks of international cooperation is reprinted from Chapter 5 of an EAEA discussion paper. At the General Assembly held on 9–10 November 2002 it was agreed that the activities outlined in this paper should be fleshed out to provide a basis for an action and working plan to be put before the next General Assembly. Initial results of this work were discussed at the Executive Committee meeting in January 2003. The complete paper can be obtained from the EAEA (www.eaea.org).

International Co-operation

Global learning challenge

A) Where are we now?

Despite Progress in recent years, the EAEA’s global position is not strong enough, which is manifested in national level undertakings and in valuable regional and national level activities and efforts made inde pendently of one another out of Europe. Only some of the countries (Nordic) and some of the national organisations attempted to respond to the increasing global effects. However, there is little common accord in these attempts. The experiences of recent years (1999–2002) show that the organisational development of the EAEA itself is one of the preconditions for acting more efficiently in the global arena. The ICAE is one of the traditional and right partners in this respect, which, in the past two years, managed to overcome some of the serious organisational crises it had to face in the past decade. The Advocacy Guide project (NIACE, EAEA, UIE, IIZ/DVV) and the “globalisation” of the Adult Learning Weeks are the most positive examples for EAEA level global activity and co-operation. Another good example was the UNESCO conference held in Sofia (2002) that aimed at evaluating the Performance of the objectives set by Education for All (EFA) and Confintea, and at conducting dialogues and making common actions. However, these achievements are far behind what is necessary and possible.

B) Where do we want to be in two-three years’ time?

European level EAEA policy strategy should be developed on the global learning challenge, strengthening global perspectives in lifelong learning, and the implementation of a 3-5-year plan of action should be started. It would be useful to schedule the discussion of the draft at the same time as the completion of the so-called Shadow Report of the ICAE and the Confintea plus 6 event of the UNESCO in the autumn of 2003, when the respective boards of the EAEA and ICAE could hold a joint Seminar with the participation of interested EAEA members. (Scheduled for autumn 2003, Paris.)

  1. C) How can we get to where we want to be?

    Financial possibilities must be sought for the revision and evaluation of important adult learning activities conducted out of the European Union, and for the creation of information exchange and co-ordination between donors and significant organisations, which should be linked to building contacts with the DG for External Relations.

  2. Co-operation and dialogue with regional Organisations such as the ASPBAE, the CEAL and the REPEM should be strengthened. In co-ordination with the ASPBAE, the EAEA should contribute to the joint implementation of the ASEM follow-up pilot projects. Recommended priority fields for pilot projects of the ASEM are:

    -Establishment of Virtual Lifelong Learning Information Centres
    -Lifelong Learning Research
    -Thematic Network on Basic Competencies
    -Work Placed Learning
    -National Partnership on Adult Learning

  3. In the framework of the Socrates extension in MEDA joint projects should be conducted mainly in the Arab region located closest to Europe. (Priorities: information on EU lifelong learning policy, basic skills development, and strengthening NGOs.) More powerful advocacy is necessary in order to reach EFA objectives in the African – region and to Support the elementary recovery of the African regional Organisation.

  4. Jointly with universities, the EAEA should launch training activities, scholarship and study trip programmes or contribute to existing ones in the field of adult education practitioner, counsellor and research training that promote:
    -The creation of a stable and viable system of relations among organisations in regions out of Europe;
    -The emergence of a young generation of adult educators; . Building up a global network and joining it to the EAEA.

  5. In the field of capacity building, special attention should be paid to the fact that increasing the access to European sources requires the adoption of the procedures of European transnational project practice and outcome orientation in relations. On the basis of lessons from TACIS and PHARE programmes, it should be made understood that “solidarity funds” can only be maintained and increased if there are palpable products and performance.

  6. Betweeen 2003–5, the EAEA should consciously organise joint consultations and working seminars with the adult learning or ganisations of the North American region and Japan on the development of global co-operation, which should be linked to the exploration of co-operation and funding possibilities with other global actors (such as the World Bank and the OECD).

  7. Guests from ICAE should be invited to events organised in the priority areas of the EAEA (basic skills, valuing learning and active citizenship).