The Ministers of Education and Higher Education of South Eastern Europe agree on the need to strengthen regional cooperation in the field of adult education as a key issue for economic and social regeneration in the region, building on existing international and European documents.1
They stress the importance of adult education aimed at establishing a knowledge based society throughout Europe as laid down in the conclusions to the Lisbon European Council meeting.
South Eastern Europe being part of the evolving wider area of education, it requires particularly rapid development in the adult education sector since the economic problems facing the population in societies in transition in South Eastern Europe can only be resolved through improved education. The increased pace of change in the world of work, the complete transformation of some job profiles and the political demands made on enfranchised persons call for new approaches in education policy. Lifelong Learning is the appropriate response to the constant growth in human knowledge and the speed of the information flow, and is of direct benefit to people, helping to turn them into a skilled and flexible workforce.
The Ministers recognize the efforts undertaken so far to achieve greater coherence between the goals of Education for All,2 Adult Education3 and Lifelong Learning, and to strengthen the role of adult education within the wider concept of Lifelong Learning. The Ministers declare their strong support for the South Eastern European Education Reform Initiative. 4
Within this framework they declare their intention to commit themselves to the following goals:
They have identified the following priority instruments to further enhance coopera tion in adult education and vocational training in the Region in order to contribute to peace and reconciliation in the Balkan Region:
The Ministers agree to the following action plan to be carried out by the end of 2005:
Skopje, 18 October 2003
1 In accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding, signed at Nicosia, Cyprus on 28 June 2003 on the occasion of the Seventh Conference of European Ministers of Education, according to which lifelong learning outcomes are one of the main benchmarks for education systems, and taking note of the Sofia Call to Action, issued on 9 November 2002 at Sofia, Bulgaria.
2 Forum on Education for All (EFA), Dakar, 2000.
3 5th UNESCO International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA V), Hamburg 1997.
4 Building on and acknowledging the achievements of the Enhanced Graz Process/Task Force Education and Youth of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe.
5 e.g. by introducing the European Credit Transfer System.
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