The Commission today decided to grant over €30 million to European cooperation projects in the field of adult education. The package – funded by the Grundtvig action under the EU’s education/training programme Socrates – will support 2,500 organisations involved in the general education of adults.
Announcing the new funding package in Brussels, Ján Figel’, European Commissioner in charge of Education and Training, underlined the importance of adult education for the future of the Union: “Learning does not stop when you finish school or university. We live in a rapidly changing world in the Information Age, and our workforce must make sure it has the general skills required by our demanding globalised environment. Also, as our society ages, it is more important than ever before that adults continue to learn new skills or refresh old knowledge throughout their lives.” The Commissioner pointed out that “the Grundtvig funding granted today boosts the support we are giving to adults from all walks of life all over the EU to equip themselves with the basic skills needed to confront the challenges that lie ahead.”
The overall aim of Grundtvig is to help improve the availability, quality and accessibility of educational provision for adults, and to strengthen European cooperation in this field. It encompasses not only learning within the formal educational system but also in a whole range of non-formal settings as diverse as libraries, museums, hospitals and prisons, as well as learning undertaken on an informal or individual basis. Its particular focus is on providing European learning opportunities for disadvantaged sections of the population.
Over the past five years, Grundtvig has become an invaluable source of support for organisations working in non-vocational adult education who would like to develop cooperative links with partners in other European countries. Altogether, 31 countries are currently participating.
This year, 71 new cooperation projects and 10 networks and thematic seminars, have been selected among more than 430 applications from all over Europe. Each project typically involves between 6 and 8 partners from at least three of the participating countries, and will receive on average a grant of between €60,000 and €340,000 for a duration of one to three years. Altogether, the Commission will devote more than €16 million to the funding of these initiatives.
The participating organisations represent all kinds of institutions working in the field of adult education, notably adult education providers, non-profit making organisations and higher education institutions.
The thematic areas covered by the new projects are also very varied, covering active citizenship, basic skills, management of adult education, use of ICT and intercultural education.
In selecting these projects, the Commission has paid particular attention to what they intend to do to establish and spread examples of best practice. This will ensure that the wider European educational community can benefit from the projects’ results.
Grundtvig also supports smaller-scale Learning Partnerships between all kinds of institutions active in adult education and provides individual training grants to adult educators to update their skills through training in another country. Almost €17.5million is available to participants in 2005-2006 via the National Agencies, who manage these actions in each participating country. In 2005, it is anticipated that over 400 Learning Partnerships involving almost 1,800 adult education institutions will be grant-aided, and well over 1,000 adult educators will have the opportunity of updating their skills through training grants and visits to conferences and seminars in other European countries, thanks to Grundtvig support.