EAEA Statement: Put the PLUS into Erasmus+ – include adult education!
One in five adults in the EU has low literacy and numeracy skills (OECD 2013). Many more cannot use digital tools confidently in everyday life. Without these skills, individuals are at greater risk of unemployment, poverty and social exclusion. Good adult education strategies contribute to the competitiveness of the European market, but also social cohesion and inclusion, active citizenship and democracy, in addition to benefits such as health, well-being and personal development.
Despite the clear benefits of adult education, it continues to be chronically underfunded in Europe. Within the Erasmus+ programme, 80% of funding is allocated to education and train. Of this funding, only 5% goes to adult education. At the same time, only 10,7% of adults between 25–64 participate in adult education although the ET2020 benchmark is 15%.
Erasmus+ is an outstanding and crucial programme for adult learners. It is not only a programme for students, but also apprentices, teachers, trainers and organisations. It is not only for universities, but also VET, schools and adult education.
The European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) calls on policy-makers to recognise the importance of adult education in the Erasmus+ programme.
ON HOW TO SUPPORT ADULT EDUCATION IN ERASMUS+
1. Support the introduction of adult learning alliances! In order to have an appropriate impact in the area of adult education, EAEA proposes large-scale projects that are comparable to the sector skills alliances or knowledge alliances.
2. Support strategic partnerships in Erasmus+ with a distinct increase for adult education! Erasmus+ (and the Grundtvig programme in the past) have contributed enormously to the innovation and cooperation within adult education in Europe.
3. Support an increase in the mobilities budget for adult education staff and include the learners! In many countries and organisations, Erasmus+ is one of the few opportunities for staff development. Also adult learners should have the opportunity to participate in mobilities and contribute to an open and inclusive European society.
4. Support civil society – continue and increase operating grants! European associations are crucial for the positive development of policies as they provide the link between European policy and practice at the national, regional and local levels. EAEA proposes the continuation of the operating grants for European associations while increasing the budget to the level of operating grants in other sectors.
5. Support the full participation of all countries in Europe in Erasmus+! Cooperation in adult education, especially at the grassroots level, can strengthen democracy and intercultural dialogue between citizens, organisations and countries. It is therefore crucial that associations from Europe that are neither members nor candidates can fully participate in the programme.