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EPALE

Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe

 
 

Discussion

How can EU funding help Member States (and others) to build up the Adult Education sector in long-term, long-lasting ways?

03/12/2018
by EPALE Moderator

/en/file/eu-fundingEU funding

EU funding

 

How can EU funding help Member States (and others) to build up the Adult Education sector in long-term, long-lasting ways? We would love to hear your thoughts in this online discussion.

As a follow-up to our discussion on the challenges and future of adult learning for vocational purposes and in the workplace, we would like you to share your opinion on any of the topics below. Engage with your peers from across Europe in this online discussion moderated by EPALE Thematic Coordinators Markus Palmen and Simon Broek.

  • What kind of funding have you found the most relevant and crucial for your work? Why?
  • Is there a way that European funding could leverage funding for adult learning from other sources?
  • From your own professional perspective, are there problems or issues with these funding processes you would like to raise?
  • How would you describe your or your organisation's involvement in the processes that determine AE funding on a European level? (e.g. through a national lobby organisation, a European umbrella organization, personal contacts with decision-makers) Is your voice heard?
    • How does this compare with you or your organisation's involvement in the processes that determine your national or regional funding for AE?
  • How should the return on the investment in adult learning be measured?
  • How well connected are different funding streams to AE policy (for instance ESF, ESIF, ERDF)?

 

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Markus Palmén's picture
So far we´ve discussed how a discussion on funding should be preceded by a discussion on a broader vision for AE -and this debate is indeed ongoing.

What about current sources of funding in your day-to-day work reality? Which streams of funds are most relevant or familiar for you? 
Simon BROEK's picture
What I have seen in EU studies is that the funding issue is a very, very complex one. Adult learning providers can be funded through government grants/ subsidies; employer contributions; learners contributions; project funding. My hypothesis concerning funding is that the funding models are very much related to the delivery of specific courses in a competitive environment, leaving limited resources for the further development of adult learning and adult learning professionals. In the long-run the quality of adult learning is suffering from this often precarious funding situation.
What are your thoughts on this?
Fernando Albuquerque Costa's picture
I agree with the importance to have a vision and a European common vision on Adult Education, but also consider that we should learn from former and successful experiences and practices. Actually, I'm sure that there are a lot good practices that still continue limited to those which lived them. 
One important contribution would be to collect, analise and organize them in a such way that could be inspiring ideas for all that are concerned with the subject.

Markus Palmén's picture
Thank you Fernando. I agree, lots of silent knowledge within the AE community. It would be a good task also for EPALE to collect these experiences e.g.  by interviewing AE veterans.  
NSS EPALE Nederland's picture
Interesting topic! Building up an adult education in a long term, long lasting way demands validation and support for existing initiatives and projects, whatever they are. They have to be structured within a over all vision on adult education. Once the vision and the structure are clear, the field can be sustained with funding in a constructive way.
Christine Bertram's picture
You are making a great point there, Vincent. Most of these projects very much live from what is added "on top" of that which is paid and this is not recognised as much, if at all. However, as long as impact and value for money are the primary drivers, I don't see that changing much because the lever for assessing projects would be missing.
Vincent CARUANA's picture
 It is positive that there seems to be a mover towards smaller grassroots projects in the Erasmus + calls for proposals. This could potentially mobilise many small scale organisations working on a local level. It will also hopefully widen the geographic coverage of such projects with a better spread away form the main capitals where most projects tend to take place. 
As a general comment I think that the Commission needs to start recognising again Contributions in Kind. This is in harmony with the principles of the gift economy and the social economy. Why is it that there has been a tendency to mover away from recognising that what an organisation can put in as own contribution might not be money but it might be time, lots of volunteerism, enthusiasm and passion? These need to be re-valorised again and considered as valid co-financing, in particular for small scale projects.       
Markus Palmén's picture
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Thank you for your points, Vincent and Lou! Small organizations working outside urban centres need their support. Any thoughts on the performance of European Regional Development Funds in bridging centre-periphery gaps in terms of education?

Lou Mycroft's picture
I agree with all of this Vincent.

In my experience any EU funds levered often go into 'the black hole' rather than any innovative work - ie into structures and systems which reproduce inequality and just keep doing the same old sausage factory thing. This is because they tend to be applied for by the top, with little or no grassroots input (and this may reflect the complexity of application forms - filling them in is an industry). I'm thinking of poor quality work which is allowed to get under the radar because monitoring is 100% concerned with outputs, not quality of provision. It makes me angry, but you can probably tell that! 

Markus Palmén's picture
Welcome to the last part of our discussion series on the future of adult education in Europe. The series was initiated by the Commission to stay informed about practitioners’ visions for future adult learning policy.

In this last part, we´ll focus on funding. A good point to to start: What kind of funding have you found the most relevant and crucial for your work? Why?