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Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe



The EBSN’s Speakers' Corner on Adult Literacy: online discussion

by Zsolt Vincze


Welcome to the online discussion organised by the EBSN EPALE team celebrating the International Literacy Day!

On this page we organise ‘The Speakers’ Corner on Adult Literacy’ intended to be really open to everyone! To ensure this we are making this event multilingual: if you feel you want to contribute but do not feel comfortable enough writing in English, you can write in your own language. We will do our best to understand you with the help of Google translator!

Feel free to share your opinion on the questions below:

Q1: What is your main message to policy makers regarding Adult Literacy?

Q2: What do you think policy makers still don’t understand about Adult Literacy in Europe?

Q3: What are the main barriers stopping adults from achieving functional literacy?

The event will take place on this page Friday, September 7th, from 10.00 (CET) to 17:00 (CET). It will be moderated by the EBSN’s Secretary General, Graciela Sbertoli.

We look forward to reading your contributions!

**Please note that comments may be over several pages. Please refresh the page and scroll to the bottom to click through to comments on other pages.**

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Irini Georgiou's picture
Thanks for your comments,
No we do not have this in Cyprus, but I could imagine that sometime hopefully it could be materialized, I presume that all colleagues have, good ideas  which most probably  with a get together workshop and exchange of ideas, might be  materialized or even promoted to  other levels ,we could have an open agenda for all themes to be discussed and probably other European members could help for mutual benefit
Etelberto Costa's picture
Spite of agreeing with priority on youth we (europeans knowledge agents) mustn´t neglect the fact of the so great percentage of cocitizens that have still illeterates in complete. And many more are being excluded on the socila media diemnsion, specially for the agressive effect of "fake news" (look to the article of gerhard Bisovisky about this respect on the blog). What can we do? To persevere on the budget of Erasmus + for Adult Education on a perspectivo of Lifelong Learning vision. Sorry for this so late intervention...
Graciela Sbertoli's picture
Dear all,
The time frame for this event was 10:00 to 17:00 CET - and that means the moderation of the discussion will end in about 4 minutes. But do go on writing if you haven't been able to log in before now! All messages are important, and they will all be collected as base for the EBSN's future work.
Thank you all for your contributions!
Graciela Sbertoli's picture
Our colleague Satya (see LinkedIn profile here) has been trying to contribute to this event, but apparently something went wrong with the approval of her registration. She sent me her message by mail. 

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To engage policy makers, we have to speak their language and deal with issues of their world.  The key to getting their support is to present adult learning issue resolution as a matter of national interest for which tax money may be spent, not individual or private interest. In many countries where the labour force is shrinking, it is essential to increase national human capital to succeed in the knowledge economy.  This means adult learning of three types: First, for those who do not have the literacy to learn further or to function in current society (people with low literacy or skilled  immigrants learning a new language); second, for adults with pre-learning literacy in the economy, who need to upskill or reskill to increase their productivity or labour market mobility and third, to compensate for declining levels of literacy and numeracy particularly for older workers and seniors, so that they can participate as informed citizens, consumers and contributors.  This type of investment would provide returns immediately but also over the long term for the national economy.  Therefore, public funding for adult learning is commendable even if it is delivered by non-government agencies and organizations.

Graciela Sbertoli's picture
Are we talking to our policy makers in a language they understand? Are we giving them enough reasons to invest largely in literacy provision for adults?
Christine Bertram's picture
Those are all valid arguments. Arguments that have been made time and time again. As long as adult education is not seen as important as general education, I can't see how there will be a change.

Just look at the follow-up programme of Erasmus. Yes, adult mobility may make an appearance, but potentially  tucked away in Key Action 2, NOT with the highly visible learner mobility elements under KA1. If even formal EU Programmes do not recognise the importance of adult education, and youth and higher ed are pushed so much to the fore (even in budget terms) adult education will continue to struggle for recognition, funding and arguing for the true impact that it makes.

Of course we should not be discouraged. If WE don't stand up and persist with promoting adult education, there is little chance anything will change. Therefore, we need to join up our voices, use platforms such as EPALE and continue tooting our horn. Until someone listens.

I'll come off my soapbox now.
Have a good weekend all and thanks for the input!
Graciela Sbertoli's picture
I am so very thankful for all your contribution today! I deeply agree with you... We must have a good talk some day somewhere! :-) Have a splendid weekend!
Christine Bertram's picture
Thank you, Graciela. It was a great pleasure. Yes, we must. Have a wonderful weekend!
Bravo Nico's picture
Graciela, concordo com a sua perspetiva.
Na realidade, os processos de alfabetização digital são processos educativos que possibilitam uma abordagem mais horizontal e inclusiva aos seus destinatários, uma vez que estes não se concentram apenas na população iletrada/analfabeta. Podem coexistir, no mesmo espaço e tempo de aprendizagem digital, pessoas com diferentes níveis de escolaridade e isso é fundamental para desconstruir o estigma social e político da alfabetização.
A alfabetização digital, pela sua importância para a cidadania e pela sua dimensão educativa mais democrática e transversal, poderão constituir boas portas de entrada para os processos formais de educação, para todos os que deles poderão beneficiar.
Graciela Sbertoli's picture
Graciela, I agree with your perspective.
In reality, digital literacy processes are educational processes that allow a more horizontal and inclusive approach to their target audience, since they are not only focused on the illiterate / illiterate population. People with different levels of schooling can coexist in the same space and time of digital learning and this is fundamental to deconstruct the social and political stigma of literacy.
Digital literacy, because of its importance for citizenship and its more democratic and cross-cutting educational dimension, can be a good gateway to formal education processes for all those who can benefit from them.