The report by the European Parliament on the Communication “Rethinking Education” has been sucessfully voted in the Committee for Culture and Education. EAEA interviewed MEP Katarina Nevedalova (S&D), as a rapporteur of the report, on her views on non-formal (adult) education and the key challenges for the Communication in her view.
EAEA: What do you believe are the key challenges that should be addressed in the communication “rethinking education”?
In the report on Rethinking Education I tried to focus on 3 main objectives:
- youth unemployment, which has to be faced by more than 23,5% of European young people; however due to both pressures of demographic change and inadequate training Europe’s lack of skills creates 2 million unfilled vacancies in the EU
- education systems that are obsolete and creating a mismatch between opportunities provided by the education institutions and current labour market. Only possible way out of this situation is to update and design new systems to prevent the same situation from happening in the future. There is also a need to introduce new teaching methods, which would involve social, regional and business partners in educational process, and lifelong learning pathways;
- broadening the mission of education and training policies so that they have a specific role in promoting active citizenship, personal development and well-being, and enhancing structured social dialogue.
EAEA: You organized a debate with stakeholders on the draft report by the European Parliament. What were the key messages out of that debate for you?
Sometimes I hear that concerns of people outside the institutions are barely taken into account and that stakeholders are not involved enough in decision making. That was not the case during the preparatory work on the draft report on Rethinking Education. We organised the roundtable and policy debates in the European Parliament which was aimed to open up the discussion among relevant stakeholders and political representatives.
As a result of the debate we understood that competences and transversal skills acquired during the education should lead to securing not only financial but also social and personal needs of the people.
EAEA: Adult education organizations in Europe, as well as many other education fields are concerned about the low priority of non-formal (adult) learning in the communication. What do you think about that and are you planning to address that?
Highlighting the important role of non-formal and informal learning I consider as part of an overall lifelong learning strategy aiming at a socially inclusive knowledge society with strong and active citizens. For that reason I tried to strengthen the role of youth, educational organisations as well as other partners in educational process as complementary educational providers for non-formal and informal learning and volunteering. Any additional experience hence the education might help people to attain both transversal skills and individual personal competences, such as critical thinking and problem solving, team work and communication, and self-confidence and leadership.
EAEA: You had first exchanges of views with various stakeholders and within the European Parliament, as well as the first draft of report is ready. Can you already tell us about the direction you are looking at?
I hope that the main message of the report will be easily revealed. I fully agree with words of one of the stakeholders during the above mentioned roundtable: “With employability comes opportunity”. On one side it might be seen as an extremely pragmatic approach but on the other hand people can build their lives, self confidence, improve social behaviour or become active citizens only in an appropriate environment. Good and quality education, traineeship or apprenticeship opportunities and work-based learning should serve as the way through which the individual can ensure all basic needs in life. The main idea behind the report is not only to identify the main skills and challenges for learners and people entering the labour market but also to find solutions for how to maintain the precondition of their individual and economic independence. Every human being has the right to access education. If we want to make this a reality, we need to invest in quality education in a long-lasting and sustainable way.
EAEA: Can you tell us, what adult learning means for you?
There are still less and less people who rest at one job position all over the life period. In today´s world it is not only students and young people entering the labour market who need to gather right skills for the right job. There are also adults who need further qualification in order to improve their personal situation, as regards employment, social inclusion, family life, active citizenship or self-recognition, for example. New competences and transversal skills acquired should lead to securing not only financial but also social and personal needs of the people.
EAEA: Is there a message you would like us to deliver to the European adult education community?
DO NOT GIVE UP! If we are adults it doesn´t mean that we do not need to learn anymore. Every day brings into our lives new challenges we need to face. New technologies, digital evolution, social networks or new tasks at work ask for different approach to our career than we were used to. Therefore, a priority of the report is a lifelong learning as well as a career-long professional training, due in particular to the rapid changes in contemporary world.
Via European Association for the Education of Adults – Infonet (17/9/2013)
European Parliament Procedure File – Rethinking Education
European Commission Communication – Rethinking Education