02 SES 13 C, Adult Education and Inclusion
The proposed symposium will focus the role of adult education (AE) as a means to facilitate active citizenship for the inclusion of vulnerable young adults. The symposium is drawing on the Horizon 2020 project, entitled ‘Adult Education as a Means to Active Participatory Citizenship’ (EduMAP). This international initiative that involves the partnership and cooperation of six European countries, and one non-EU partner (Turkey), endeavours to advance understanding and further develop both the current and future impact of adult education on learning for active participatory citizenship in Europe.
The role of adult education and lifelong learning (LLL), including informal learning, VET and second chance education, has been increasingly recognised, by both practitioners and policy-makers, as a means to engage and re-engage young adults and facilitate their life chances and social inclusion thus contributing to an active citizenship within their social contexts. The symposium aims to consider both the project’s developments and the wider social issues related to the topic of this international initiative that involves the partnership and cooperation of six European countries, and one non-EU partner (Turkey). The research question this project seeks to answer is: What policies and practices are needed in the field of adult education to include young adults at risk of social exclusion in active participatory citizenship in Europe? The EduMAP project endeavours to compile an inventory of the adult education policies and practices in EU Member States, specifically focusing on the extent to which these policies facilitate and promote the social inclusion of young adults, who are at risk of social exclusion. The research findings are being linked back to the educational practices by developing an IDSS (Intelligent Development Support System) for the use of policymakers, educational authorities and other relevant stakeholders. The IDSS will cover broad information on adult education and targeted information related to vulnerable groups.
The research findings indicate that different types of AE have become important tools for engagement and (re-)integration of young adults into society such as basic skills and remedy programmes, second-chance education, retraining, Vocational programme (VET) and Informal learning. The project draws on rich sources of research literature, that bring attention to the issues of social exclusion, adult education and participatory citizenship (McCollum, 2011; Sigel & Hoskins, 1981; Evans and Niemeyer, 2004).Drawing on the theories of Lifelong Learning which emphasise the significance of human capabilities as well social and political participation (Evans, 2009) rather than merely economic development, the project further employs the concept of active citizenship (AC) to provide a better understanding of social inclusion and participation. In this project AC is seen as related to social, political or economic dimensions of participation and engagement, facilitated thorough a range of programmes including VET oriented programs, informal learning and basic skills courses. In this context, engaging vulnerable young people through adult education has been strongly related to addressing the specific needs and requirements that would facilitate their participation in the social, economic and civic/political life in their country contexts.
The project methodology exercised through dedicated work packages, involves both theoretical and empirical research, including advancing understanding of state-of-the-art of adult education and social inclusion across EU countries and undertaking case studies of the experiences of vulnerable young adults and examples of best practice. The symposium will discuss emerging findings from both the desk research and empirical research and will present examples from several European countries, including England, Ireland, Scotland, the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries, considering both divergences and convergences in lifelong learning and adult education across Europe and beyond.
Holford et al. (2008) Patterns of Lifelong Learning: Policies and Practice in an Expanding Europe, Vienna: Lit Verlag. Holford J and Mleczko A. (2013) Lifelong learning: national policies from the European perspective. In: Saar et al. (eds). (2013) Lifelong Learning in Europe: National Patterns and Challenges. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd; 25–45. Evans, K. (2009). Learning, Work and Social Responsibility. Dordrecht: Springer.Evans, 2011 Evans, K and Niemeyer, B (eds). (2004) Reconnection Countering Social Exclusion through Situated Learning. Place: Springer McCollum, David (2011) ‘An acceptance that it’s just your lot, I suppose’: reflections on turbulent transitions between work and welfare. People, Place & Policy Online 5/3, 149-160. DOI: 10.3351/ppp.0005.0003.0003 Sigel, R., & Hoskins, M. (1981). The political involvement of adolescents. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
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