The EPALE conference 2018 “Fostering an inspiring adult learning community” was held in Budapest on October 15th and 16th 2018. Over 250 delegates from across the 28 member states took part an estimated 39 languages represented.
The focus of the conference was on adult education in Europe, the new Erasmus+ programme and how EPALE could continue to grow to support the adult education community. Heike Kölln-Prisner, from Hamburg Volkhochschule and Jane O’Kelly, from DCU, Dublin had the opportunity to talk with colleagues about soft skills assessment and discuss a learner-centred focus in adult education.
The conference had presentations from:
- Dana Carmen Bachmann, European Commission Head of Unit DG EMPL, VET, Apprenticeship and Adult Learning on ‘Adult Learning in Europe: Where next?’ She talked of unprecedented change and opportunity from various sectors: explosion in contingent work, jobs vulnerable to automation, AI, robotics, a tsunami of data and change in the nature of careers.
- The presentation from Lisette Schermer, European Commission DG EAC on the next Erasmus+ programme 2021-2027 suggested that it will be more inclusive and accessible, broader and forward-looking, more focused on developing EU awareness, more international, in synergy with other EU instruments and simpler. All EU commission officials stayed for the conference talking with delegates about their experiences of Erasmus+ and EPALE.
Workshops focused on elements of adult education and the EU role produced suggestions and recommendations for learner focus, learner participation and more opportunities for transnational cooperation and discussion. Plenary and workshop discussions showed that adult education providers, policy makers and independent educators and researchers were in agreement as to the benefits of adult education and the need for more EU wide and national discussions.
Conference materials available here