ABOUT THE CONFERENCE
To create an accessible and flourishing Europe, it is crucial to address the future positively – by having in place education and training systems capable of providing the knowledge, skills and competences needed to address the challenges of our times and to keep adapting throughout our lives. Adult learning and education (ALE) includes formal, non-formal and informal learning activities – both general and vocational – undertaken after leaving initial education. In light of its potential to transform lives and societies, it is increasingly understood as a public good. ALE can play an important role in post-COVID-19 recovery, for example by ensuring that citizens become agents of change, equipped with skills and competences that allow them to navigate ever more complex and frequent transitions (such as with regard to digitalisation and its impact on the world of work, or with a view to addressing climate change). In the wake of current and future challenges (demographic or technological; or related to health, climate, emergency situations, etc.) ALE’s aim is to contribute to building strong, forward-looking and resilient societies and economies.
As the Council Resolution on a renewed European agenda for adult learning expired in 2020, Slovenia attaches immense importance to setting a new vision for ALE in Europe for the next decade. As part of its Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) in the second half of 2021, Slovenia has addressed this topic in its proposal for new Council Resolutions on the New European Agenda for Adult Learning and through a structured dialogue with interested parties.
Efforts to renew the vision for ALE in Europe coincide with preparations for the seventh International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VII), which will take place in Morocco in 2022. This unique international meeting takes place every 12 years and will provide an opportunity to take stock of global practices on ALE and set out a new framework for action to guide the future of ALE in UNESCO Member States. In order to reflect regional specifics and perspectives, a series of regional and sub-regional consultation meetings has been organised in 2021, and the main outputs of the discussions will be consolidated in a regional outcome document.
In this context, the Ministry for Education, Science and Sports of the Republic of Slovenia, together with the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), will co-organise a regional conference to be held on 8 and 9 September 2021. Drawing on a variety of perspectives from a broad range of stakeholders working in the field of ALE, the interactive virtual conference aims to take stock of ALE developments, trends and challenges in Europe, and to identify forward-looking recommendations with a focus on ALE as the resilient response to future challenges.
The overall goal of the meeting is to share and foster understanding of key common issues, innovations, challenges and forward-looking strategies, and to develop recommendations to renew the European vision in the field of ALE, which will feed into both the new Council Resolutions on the New European Agenda for Adult Learning and the preparations for CONFINTEA VII.