DialogWeb was interested in learning about the policy issues / priorities set by the European Commission related to Adult Education during the European Year for Active Ageing. Ms Dana Bachmann Head of Adult Education and Mr Tapio Säävälä Deputy Head, kindly answered some questions which will be published in a series of three articles here in DialogWeb in April 2012. The first is on Lifelong Learning activities, the second on education and employment and the third on solidarity and attitudes.
Lifelong Learning initiatives
The year is intended to raise awareness of the contribution that older people make to society. Policymakers and relevant stakeholders at all levels are encouraged to take action with the aim of creating better opportunities for active ageing and strengthening solidarity between generations. This article is deals with Lifelong Learning initiatives launched by the EU in 2012.
Major European Conference in November 2012
Besides many initiatives at the European level promoting active and healthy ageing, the European Commission, DG Education and Culture will organise in the context of the European Year 2012, a major European conference on learning dimension of active ageing to be held in Brussels in November 2012. The purpose of the conference will be to take stock of national developments, to review existing analyses and good practice developed by Grundtvig projects, partnerships, networks and mobility actions and their potential for dissemination and mainstreaming. One of the themes of the conference will be healthy and active ageing and the role that learning activities play in keeping older people independent and healthy. The outcomes of the conference will provide a foundation for a first set of policy recommendations and guidelines as the basis for further policy cooperation in the framework of the European Agenda for Adult Learning adopted in November 2011.
A Study on Learning for active ageing and Intergenerational learning
Furthermore, in 2011 we launched the Study on Learning for active ageing and Intergenerational learning to promote and steer the policy processes. The study will include the compendium of best practice projects in the field of active ageing and intergenerational learning that have been founded through the Grundtvig programme. Concluded in 2012, this study will help us to identify the key elements of the role of learning in an ageing society and its implications for Europe and will be used in the framework of European cooperation activities while defining an impetus for commitment and concrete action. Plans to sustain the good effects of different LLL campaigns and initiatives The European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations 2012 is the unique opportunity and important momentum to promote active ageing policies across Europe. From the perspective of adult learning, the European Year provides an excellent opportunity to define the field of learning for active ageing and to place it in the context of overall active ageing policy. It is an occasion to highlight what has already been done but also to reflect on new solutions and gaps that remain be addressed at European, national, regional, and local levels. But active ageing policies do not stop with the end of the European Year 2012. The European Union will continue to support the key principles of promoting active ageing including learning opportunities for older people while fostering social inclusion and intergenerational solidarity.
Ambitious long term targets a part of Europe 2020 agenda
The overall strategy for the EU – the Europe 2020 agenda - sets ambitious long-term targets which could only be achieved by addressing challenges that demographic change brings to our society. Moreover, the European Commission will strongly support the implementation of strategic objectives of the new European Agenda for Adult Learning of reaching seniors, especially by supporting Members States through the Open Method of Coordination, by collecting evidence and expanding knowledge-base. The future Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe - EPALE, which should be launched in 2014, will offer the space for building up on the results of the European Year 2012 in the field of adult learning.
Dana Bachmann is Head of the Adult Education; Grundtvig unit at DG EAC. She is responsible for adult learning policy and for the implementation of the Grundtvig strand of the Lifelong Learning Programme. From 2008 to 2011 she worked at the European Court of Human Rights and previously she managed diverse projects in the field of environmental law in Central and Eastern Europe.
Tapio Säävälä has been working in the field of education since 1985. He started his career as a Special Needs Education Teacher, and worked as a School Headmaster and as a Senior Adviser in the National Board of Education in Finland. He joined the European Commission in 2002 to work on lifelong learning policies and key competences in particular. In 2006-2011 he worked on school education policies focusing on curriculum development. Currently, he is Deputy Head of Unit responsible for adult education policies and the Grundtvig programme.