“Need to support the development and realization of senior people potential”

Event organisers' greetings

In our eventForum “Education for Elderly People”, we gathered 160 participants from civil society organizations, libraries, and territorial centers that provide social services from all regional centers of Ukraine, residents of Vinnitsa and its district. Experts in adult education and lifelong learning from Germany, Belarus, Latvia, Moldova, the Netherlands and Georgia provided their expertise.

International Forum and activities in its locations facilitated dialogue between providers of educational services in the sphere of formal and non-formal education for the elderly, public authorities, and civil society organizations that understand how important it is to create a lifelong learning system in Ukraine.

We aimed at promotion and dissemination of various models of cooperation between civil society, educational institutions and authorities in provision of educational services for the elderly.

We managed to define the leading ideas and directions for writing relevant programs and policy documents, taking into account the specific features of the educational potential of Ukraine.

The main result of the Forum was the active promotion and support at the national and regional level of the concept of lifelong education, which will contribute to an increase in the educational, professional and cultural level of the elderly.

A social dialogue between partners was established in the context of educating people of respectable age in Ukraine, the potential of participants in improvement of life quality of the elderly in Ukraine was improved, development of adult education aimed at meeting the individual needs of citizens in personal and professional growth was emphasised.

In the future, we are planning to develop a partner organizations network that will be able to advocate and lobby issues of promoting the interests of older people at a professional and high-quality level. Together with the authorities we want to develop programs and reshape the existing urban development strategies towards priorities for the support of education and training of seniors.

Our message: It is necessary to formulate the priorities of state and local policies towards the support for the development and realization of senior people potential, to support and strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations and professionalization of trainers that provide educational services for the elderly in Ukraine.

Anna Morgun, Deputy Head of the Board of Non-Governmental Organisation ’Center Podillya-Socium’


“For the motivation and encouragement of adults “

Event organisers' greetings

In our event, Balearic Islands’ day, organised by the Directorate General of Vocational Training and Teacher Training, we commemorated the Balearic Islands’ Day putting together a promotional stand to promote Lifelong Learning among visitors and the public in general. From the 25th February to the 1st March, Continuous Traning professionals gave information and pieces of advice to anyone who visited the stand and was interested in improving or learning in their adult life.

We aimed at providing information to the adult Balearic Islands’ residents regarding job and study opportunities.

We managed to spread the word in our community, explaining the characteristics of a Lifelong learning centre, the nature of educational training and how adult learners could combine their studies with job opportunities.

In the future, we are planning to elaborate a Strategic Plan based on a conference  entitled “Strategic plan for the improvement of adult educational schools in the Balearic Islands” where the main purpose was to discuss the current Lifelong learning education and its future prospects.

Our message: “Continue to give support to the Public Administration and other adult educational promoters to motivate the adult population to improve their work situation, and to encourage them to find joy in learning.”

Marta Tomás Rubio / Directorate General of Vocational Training and Teacher Training

“Promote Lifelong Learning in Later Life”

Event organisers' greetings

In our event, Letras Prá Vida (Letters for Life), organised by Coimbra Higher Education School in Coimbra, Portugal, we organised workshops to workshops to promote literacy, familiar literacy, digital literacy, empowerment, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and social inclusion. For Digital Literacy we develop the workshops Keys For Life.

The project engages about 60 participants and 20 facilitators (teachers, trainees, master students and volunteers, with different specializations like Adult Education, Psychology, Social Gerontology, all with training in adult literacy).

We work with 5 groups (10-15 people each) with diverse levels of literacy. One session per week with each group. In total, 15-17 sessions per group. Some of the participants never went to school, most of them left school without completing the basic education. We have people that don’t know how to read and write, people who don’t know how to write their own name, people who can read simple texts, people that read but write with no grammatical correction.

We have people from social minorities like immigrants, young gypsies, old people living at home and institutionalized elderly living in nursing homes, between the ages of 20 and 90, around 50 women and 10 men.

We have some challenges: elderly institutionalized participants living with Alzheimer’s disease in an early stage, participants with low self-esteem and self-efficacy, loneliness and deep sadness because of loss of their child and/or spouse, and participants with special educational needs.

In the sessions we develop reading and writing activities.

The methodology is based on Freire’s method. The planning and evaluation are participatory and engage participants and training staff. It is flexible planning, that begins with the participants defining their own goal to the workshops. The sessions try to meet the personal goals and rhythms but also promote activities in groups, with different levels of literacy using the help of each other (based on Vygotsky’s theory).

Our practice is based on Pedagogy for Autonomy (Freire), Andragogy and Selfdirected Learning (Knowles). But our main secret is the heart, that we put on this work. So we promote literacy but also a friendly environment with joy and affection. Kisses and hugs are part of our sessions.

We value each participant as a person, not an illiterate, each person has the literacy of life, of course we have to value the experience of the participants, their culture, their knowledge, their needs and interests, their projects. We value not only their past but also their future, no matter their age! This number is not a criteria!

The error is an opportunity to learn and the feedback is always constructive, not negative. The communication is horizontal, the protagonists are the participants. It is an enriched environment with books around the walls, dictionaries and other auxiliary materials, flowers and local and national newspapers over the table and a perfumed room.

We created a library, so they take the books home, to read and share with their children, grandchildren. We promote the contact with diverse books, like poetry, history… We also use music and other arts to promote literacy, and, of course, technology.

We aimed at contributing to eradicate adult illiteracy, reduce loneliness, enhance social inclusion and participation of the elderly and social minorities through lifelong education.

We managed to create an opportunity to develop literacy competences, but also a friendly context, a sharing space where everyone is capable of contributing, a place of well being, where people are heard and where they matter, where they can share their stories of life, and always leave with a smile.

“Keys for life” promotes social participation trough the use of ICT by the elderly. The elderly can be digital citizens, not only consumers, they learn how to use smart phones, computers, Internet, Social Media to interact, to participate, to be closer to their friends and family, some of them emigrants abroad.

The project also offers training on Adults Literacy for professionals and volunteers. From a critical reflection on adult education and adult literacy theoretical models, the trainees can apply their principles to planning and organization of learning opportunities and explore diverse and complementary techniques and strategies appropriate to non-formal context.

In the future, we will we expect to expand the project to other urban and rural locations, and develop literacy inside nursing homes (for those who cannot get out of the home) or engage other institutionalized elderly in literacy activities outside the nursing homes, to promote inclusion in the communities.

Our message: We need to promote lifelong learning in later life.

Dina Isabel Mendes Soeiro / Coimbra Higher Education School – Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra

“Provide training to the socially excluded”

Event organisers' greetings

In our event, organised by ACEFIR,  we opened the exhibition “The Prize of Europe – Europe from town to town” (Prix Europa) that the Parliamentary Assmbly of the Council of Europe awarded to the city of Girona in 2016.

We aimed at providing information, facilitating discussion, advocating on a selected topic and enabling questions about the European institutions for the audience.

We managed to create a very interesting debate with the participants.

In the future, we will organise more events, and will take up a programme based on a topic raised by the event.

Our message: Provide training to all groups of learners, and especially those socially excluded.

Carme Romero Valverde / ACEFIR

“Help adults improve their job prospects, skills, confidence and mental wellbeing”

Event organisers' greetings

In our event Friends Centre’s organised the event “Self Health“, which is a part of a government funded National Adult Education Mental Health Research Project. As part of this project we delivered free courses in a range of subjects and measured their impact on the mental wellbeing of those with mild to moderate mental health challenges. The courses were in English and took place at different education providers around Brighton and Hove, including at Friends Centre.

We aimed at giving individuals life skills and helping them feel healthier and experience improved mental wellbeing. The  DfE (Department for Education) Adult Education Mental Health research is testing out if short, non-formal community learning courses can help people develop strategies to manage their mild to moderate mental health problems (like stress, worry, anxiety and depression). Working together with over 50 other research sites in England as part of a larger project with DfE, we hope to show that adult education courses can have a positive effect on people’s mental health and benefit hundreds of adults across the country. We also aim to raise awareness of Mental Health issues and provide access to learning to vulnerable people.

We managed to recruite, so far, 359 learners in year 1 of the project and 180 learners in year 2 of the project so far – the last stage of the project is currently recruiting for courses in May/June. Analysis of the impact of the courses is ongoing but we’ve had some really positive feedback from learners so far:

“I really look forward to being in class each week, it’s the highlight of my week and brings me lots of joy” (Learner from a Print and Stitch course, who then progressed onto an accredited qualification with Friends Centre in Fashion & Dressmaking)

“Since attending and completing the course, my depression and anxiety have decreased substantially to the point where my outlook on life has significantly improved. The course has helped change my outlook on life and has also given me a sense of purpose and self-worth.” (Learner from a Photography course)

In the future, we will recruite learners for the final stage of our project. We are building on the success of our arts and crafts classes and offering more in sewing and knitting as well as beginner IT skills and confidence building. 

Our message: Friends Centre is an organisation where people can develop their knowledge, skills, understanding and creativity in a supportive environment. We aim to help learners achieve aspirations and meet challenges and we promote tolerance, social justice, environmental sustainability and international understanding. We believe all of this is important to both local and international society and we hope that European policy makers not only agree, but will continue to support organisations that help adults improve their job prospects, skills, confidence and their mental wellbeing. 

Phil Bedford / Friends Centre

The #YearAE2017 has started!

Campaign updates

With the campaign for the Year of Adult Education in Europe EAEA wants to celebrate the power and joy of learning. The idea is to bring together adult education working in Europe and make visible their multifaceted work to improve the wellbeing and skills of adults. We invite all our members and other adult education organisations in Europe to showcase the benefits of adult learning.

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