The fourth Promoting Adult Skills (PAS) event was organised on 25 May at the Novo mesto Adult Education Centre, and addressed the always popular field of social and civic competences. We used the attitude towards the Roma people and immigrants as the basis for the discussion on the significance of prejudice, constructive understanding, tolerance, expression and understanding of different views and compassion. We challenged Einstein’s thesis that prejudice are harder to break than atoms, and we agreed that prejudice are persistent primarily since they strengthen the feeling of belonging and safety.
The vision of cultural diversity and pluralism sometimes seems nearly reachable, however, it is then put to a test – the last example are the mass migrations to Europe. Our tolerance and ability of a multi-cultural dialogue are once again put to a test, while its results do not seem very promising.
Together for symbiosis
Prejudice are also active within the minority population, e.g. when educated members of the Roma community do not accept the uneducated and poor members of their community, they are ashamed of them, and sometimes even deny their Roma background. Young, educated members of the Roma community can definitely make a change, but they must tread carefully, while keeping constant contact with those, who they represent, or they shall otherwise lose their trust. An interesting event is also the emergence of a new hierarchy, when Roma see the new age immigrants as a threat due to the fear for their social income. This once again supports one of Einstein’s theories, i.e.: everything is relative.
During the debate the renowned expert and a member of the Roma community, Ms Hedina Sijerčić MA from Sarajevo, defended the position that we should not only improve a single aspect, but we should address the problem of minorities or immigrants as a whole. She listed 5 key priorities: satisfaction of living and other existential needs, employment, health insurance, education and respect and fostering of the culture of a specific nationality. She believes that the last two fields are the most neglected, due to which adult educators face various challenges.
Similar to the events in Celje, Slovenska Bistrica and Kranj, this EAAL professional event also ended with the adoption of the Manifesto, similar to the Manifesto for Adult Learning in the 21st century or its shorter version (EAEA). The manifesto will be published on the website of the Novo mesto Adult Education Centre.
Zvonka Pangerc Pahernik, MA (email@example.com), Slovenian Institute for Adult Education
Zvonka Pangerc Pahernik works at the Slovenian Institute for Adult Education in the field of promotional and information activities. She is the national coordinator for the implementation of the European Agenda on Adult Learning. She is interested in effective promotional approaches and promotion of cooperation and connecting of stakeholders in adult education.