"Learning to live together" – a key and topical task for European adult education
NSS EPALE Germany aims at initiating a pan-European discussion by adopting a new central theme.
In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris and Copenhagen in 2015, the EU education ministers once again place special emphasis on the role of education and adult education for successful social co-existence in Europe, as manifested by their Paris Declaration from 17 March 2015. The identification of two political and practical fields of action is of particular importance for adult education: "Strengthening children’s and young people’s ability to think critically and exercise judgement so that, particularly in the context of the Internet and social media, they are able to grasp realities, to distinguish fact from opinion, to recognise propaganda and to resist all forms of indoctrination and hate speech" (European Field of Action 2) as well as "Encouraging dialogue and cooperation among all the education stakeholders, in particular parents, families and associative structures, and building on children’s and young people’s sense of initiative and engagement in order to strengthen social ties as well as generate a sense of belonging" (European Field of Action 4).
With this, the ministers and the EU Commissioner are on traditional territory of adult education: that of political and cultural education and critical thinking. The German NSS EPALE builds on the accompanying emphasis on Erasmus+ in the declaration in the framing of its additional central theme of "Learning to live together". Under this heading we will focus over the course of the next few months on the role of vocational advanced training as well as general, political and cultural adult education with respect to human co-existence in Europe, the Member States, regions and cities: discrimination and tolerance, a culture of welcome, intercultural learning, participation, basic education and many other topics.
In all this, the theme of "Learning to live together" is meant to have more than one meaning. On the one hand, it targets questions regarding the learning activities of individuals as well as the (necessary) structures of learning available to these individuals in order for them to learn. On the other hand, successful co-existence demands learning from all – both from minorities and majorities. This is why the upcoming central theme includes not only the radicalisation of people in favour of Islamist terrorism, but also other kinds of radicalisation such as those manifesting themselves in the PEGIDA, LEGIDA and HoGeSa demonstrations in Germany and in the physical attacks on refugee hostels in this year and in the past year. Equally, the question regarding co-existence can be applied to the increasing trend towards nationalism and mutual treatment in crisis-shaken Europe – be it with regards to the financial crisis, refugees or how to deal with the conflict with Russia.
At the same time, the title "Learning to live together" is a reference to the UNESCO Report "Learning: The treasure within" from 1997. This report describes "Learning to live together" as one of four keys to mastering the challenges of the 21st century. The wording of the then Commission seems to once more carry great significance in our present day.
You have a project that matches this theme? You have made experiences regarding the theme of "Learning to live together"? You have a question regarding this? We invite the European and national adult education communities to read, think, write and to enter into a virtual discussion with each other