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EPALE - Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe


EPALE discussion: How can adult learning be used for social inclusion of vulnerable groups

by EPALE Moderator

/en/file/social-inclusion-vulnerable-groups-1Social inclusion of vulnerable groups

Social inclusion of vulnerable groups


As part of our August-September thematic focus, EPALE is organising a written discussion on how adult learning can best be used for social inclusion of vulnerable adults.

The discussion will take place on this page on 26 September between 10:00 and 16:00 CEST and will be moderated by EPALE Thematic Coordinator Gina Ebner from the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA). Don’t miss the opportunity to share your views and experiences on any of the topics below with the EPALE community!

Also, if you’ve ever worked on projects dealing with social inclusion through adult learning or developed any relevant methodologies – share your story with the other participants in the comments below!

The discussion on 26 September will include the following questions:

10:00-12:30 CEST

  • Does your organisation work with vulnerable groups? What are your target groups?
  • Do you offer tailor-made learning opportunities for vulnerable adults? Are they tailored to a particular target group or to the individual? How does this work concretely?
  • Are trainers/educators supported in working with vulnerable learners by the employer in your countries? Are there in-service training opportunities offered, for example for low-qualified employees?

Discussion left open during lunch interval


13:30-16:00 CEST

  • What do vulnerable learners need in order to progress in their professional and personal lives?
  • Are there any initiatives in your country to support / promote social inclusion through adult education?
  • Do you know of any innovative approaches to social inclusion?


    ** Comments will be open on 23 September so participants can introduce themselves or post their comments in advance.

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    Displaying 11 - 20 of 101
    Regina EBNER's picture
    So far, we have talked about the following target groups:
    Migrants - Refugees and asylum seekers - Blind/visually impaired people (especially migrants or those with a language barrier - Deaf/hearing impaired people - Ethnic minorities - Low-skilled or low-qualified adults - Young adults (school drop outs) - Adults with disabilities - Adults with intellectual disabilities, ASD, mental health issues - People affected by trauma - Prisoners - Parents of young children (especially those with a language barrier, e.g. migrants) - Unaccompanied minors - Employed persons with a lack of support/appropriate training - Unemployed persons 
    Regina EBNER's picture
    Please have a look at Brian's comment, we were discussing discrimination and xenophobia towards newcomers, and I referred to a colleague that said that we, as educators have failed in this area. I'd still like to hear your opinions and am quoting Brian: 

    Encouraging and enabling inter-cultural dialogue is of course essential. I also firmly believe that newcomers from ethnic minority backgrounds can have a profound and positive effect on, not just local citizens, but on policy-makers too. If groups and communities are given the opportunity to share aspects of cultures different from their own, and listen to the experiences of journeys that migrant people have endured, fundamental changes in attitude can happen. It is also my belief that creative expression through music, drama, cuisine, poetry of the richness of other cultures can have an important and lasting impact. The other big question is whether adult educators should also challenge governmental policies if they believe that they are obstacles in the way of positive social change and equality of opportunity.

    What do you think?
    Zoltán Lupták's picture
    It may depend on from which ethinc background one comes? Migrant, 2nd, 3rd generation migrant, member of a minority living in the country for hundreds of year? In Hungary's case the Roma /gipsy minority is the one we can talk about. Some of the Romas are completely integrated, accepted and appreciated, (including their culture) but their majority is not!
    Regina EBNER's picture
    You're of course right, we need to consider the diversity within the groups!
    Regina EBNER's picture
    Dear all, you still have about 15 minutes to post experiences, projects, ideas etc. After that, I suggest that we think of recommendations we could work out together. I'll post a short summary of our discussion and the questions then (14.55 / 15.00)
    Mateja Pečar's picture
    You have mentioned school dropouts and different learning opportunities... We are joining the discussion with Natalija Žalec, MAEd (UK), of the SIAE, who is the author of the Project Learning for Young Adults program and the coordinator of the basic training for mentors and training programs: 

    Among the most vulnerable groups there are also early school leavers and dropouts. The PLYA – Project Learning for Young Adults ( that was developed by the Slovenian Institute for Adult Education in the nineties is designed to help NEET youth of ages 15 to 26. The project, financed by European Social Fund through the Ministry of labour of Slovenia helps the youths to overcome the problems that occur when they find themselves in a social emptiness i.e. social vacuum. At the moment there are 13 active PLYA groups all over Slovenia. 

    In general, the program has two main goals, i.e. to motivate a young person to to get closer to the labour market; either to continue or to complete an abandoned education or to get a job. PLYA is a highly personalised i.e. tailor-made programme where every student is invited personally to reflect upon her/his situation – the challenges, barriers, opportunities, her/his weak and strong points. Everybody outlines her/his personal learning plan. Participation in the PLYA is voluntary. The program requires daily participation. Students can attend the program up to one year. 

    The main learning mode are learning projects that might be completely personalised (i.e. individual learning projects; e.g. to make an exam, to do something that is important for the student) or collective i.e. group learning projects where a group shares the vision, goals and action plan, but the learning process itself is personalised (i.e. depending on student’s interests, learning needs, ambitions etc. within the project). Every learning project is realised in cooperation with the broader (local, national or international) environment, i.e. with experts and institution.   
    Zoltán Lupták's picture
    We have - for example - a regional/local program in Békés city. It's main aim is fighting against segregation. It focuses mostly on Roma /gipsy/ community. The program includes providing financial aid to build a house, or a flat, counselling on healthy lifestyle, "life coaching". Many people need knowledge and a kind of "user's manual" even in very elementary issues. This lack of skills and knowledge makes them hard to break out of a poor and vulnerable  community. There is a focus on youngsters to gain at least secondary education. The program is financed by EU funds and governmental finances.
    Regina EBNER's picture
    This sounds exciting - how long has the projet been running? What are the results so far?
    Zoltán Lupták's picture
    It was started about 4 years ago. There are some positive experience concerning Roma youngsters (age 18-22) who take part adult education, they have a job, and their living standards had become better.
    Regina EBNER's picture
    Excellent! I'm always happy when adult education works for young adults (it works often much better than regular 2nd chance education)
    And it also seems to have worked very well for the learners.