23 SES 04 C, Adult Education
This study addresses the functionality and the effectiveness of the European Second Chance Education systems, whose importance is expected to grow in the years to come, especially in the light of globalisation. In fact, the recent economic downturn has determined that many governments included re-qualification and re-training to re-enter the labour market for those who missed their “first chance” as a priority in their political agenda. Because of the ageing work force in Europe, the increased labour market’s flexibility and dynamics make more profitable to focus on the way adult learners may get a “second chance” to adapt to the new global economy and to be/keep being competitive.
Education reforms have resulted in a significant shift to a knowledge-based economy where knowledge is now regarded as a nation’s key resource, while flexibility for the workers becomes a must. Being flexible and able to adapt to the changing needs of an organisation – and to the labour market in general – qualify as soft skills, as do being able to collaborate with others and influence situations through lateral and more creative thinking. However, despite 2009 is the European year of Creativity and Innovation, the soft skills are still rarely mentioned in the national learning curricula, especially in European countries’ Adult Learning systems.
The weak implementation of EU policies on Adult Learning in the Member States seems to be connected, at a first glance, to the general weakness of the EU in the field of Education because of the subsidiarity principle. Despite the strong effort the European Commission is undertaking in order to create a European framework in the Adult Learning sector, the top-down approach is not very well describing what is happening in the reality. As a matter of fact, Second Chance Education is specifically characterised by its heterogeneity: the competences for the provision of SCE within the European countries are notably divided into a wide range of stakeholders and fragmented at different levels: several ministries (Ministry of Education, Ministry of Labour…), in-house or external governmental bodies, regions/provinces/municipalities, independent AE institutions, and so on. And, like in this case, when a competence overlap engenders a responsibility deadlock, the institutional gap is normally filled at a lower level.
Another main question of this study is how the E.U. is shaping the Adult learners’ upskilling, as it seems to be giving more emphasis to the hard/basic/core skills in order to train people to the new jobs of the global economy rather than taking into account the soft skills for a pro-active European citizenship in the perspective of a better social cohesion.
The aim of this research is to investigate how skill standards for learning development are weighted in this framework in order to show the difficulties of implementation of the European Second Chance Education policies in the Member States, to analyse the nature of the obstacles they encounter, eventually extending such empirical evidence to the whole Adult Learning sector.
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00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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