The EPALE Regional Conference and EAAL Closing Conference was held in Laško on 24th and 25th September 2019. Local representatives of adult education from Slovenia participated together with the guests from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and Serbia. The event organizers, CMEPIUS in the role of the National Support Office of the EPALE Slovenia, and the SIAE, the national coordinator of the EAAL project, have joined forces and linked two European initiatives under the aegis of the European Commission.
The EPALE Regional Conferences represent an opportunity for the EPALE National Support Groups in South-East Europe to exchange their experiences and ideas. The event, which is held every year, rotating among different participating countries, dealt with concerns of topical interest. Namely, the emphasis was placed on the reflection on the implementation of the EU Council Recommendation Upskilling Pathways: New Opportunities for Adults in participating countries.
This two-day event is a manifestation of the synergy of both processes in the field of adult education triggered by the European Commission and being implemented in the region.
Regional EPALE conferences are opportunities for EPALE National Support Services (NSSs) in South-Eastern Europe to exchange their experiences and ideas. At the same time, they are dedicated to topical themes in the hosting country and wider. At the conference, more than 80 participants took part, 14 of them from Bosnia and Herzegovina, 8 from Croatia and Montenegro each, 2 from Serbia, a representative of the European Commission, and around 50 representatives of Slovenian adult education stakeholders (policy-makers, experts, practitioners, etc.).
Each country from the region had its NSS representatives at the round table discussion presenting and discussing examples of good practices regarding EPALE in their countries. National coordinator for EPALE Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr Siniša Gatarić presented as an example of good practice the regional cooperation of NSS EPALE BiH and NSS EPALE Montenegro. The activity that has been organised and maintained by these two NSSs includes training sessions divided into several modules for adult learning teachers from these two neighbouring countries. Also, Mr Gatarić pointed out the meetings and workshops that are being held across Bosnia and Herzegovina by NSS EPALE BiH to promote EPALE platform and make it more visible and involve more users from the adult education sector.
On the first day of the conference, each NSS also had the opportunity to give a presentation on the recognition and implementation of the Upskilling Pathways Initiative in their country. Experts from Bosnia and Herzegovina presented the current state of adult education in the country: Ms. Azra Šulić from Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and port of the Una-Sana Canton Government spoke about the adult education in Bosnia and Herzegovina in general and Mr. Aleksandar Petić from Institute of Adult Education of Republic of Srpska gave a speech on adult education in Republic of Srpska, examples of good practice, challenges for the future development of adult education in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
On the second day of the conference participants had the opportunity to participate in two parallel workshops moderated by Ms. Lea Pisani who gave a presentation on How to design your image for various business opportunities and Mr. Zdravko Zupančič who presented Persuasiveness of talk and performance by using principles of intercultural dialogue. The participants had the opportunity to discuss these topics and to share experiences and ideas.
All presentations from the conference can be found here.
This conference once again proved that countries from the Balkans cooperate well and that this regional cooperation within EPALE project is very fruitful. The next regional conference is announced for the year 2020 when the host country is going to be Serbia.
More information and highlights on the event can be found at the event webpage.