Putting Adult Learning in Wales on the World Stage: Strengthening Global Presence in Adult Education | Adult Learning Wales

Putting Adult Learning in Wales on the World Stage: Strengthening Global Presence in Adult Education

11-June-2024
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Adult Learning Wales (ALW), a prominent Welsh organisation dedicated to the advancement of adult education, is making significant strides in establishing a robust global presence. This move not only highlights the organisation’s commitment to fostering lifelong learning but also underscores Wales’ role in the international landscape of adult education. By embracing innovative practices and establishing new relationships, ALW is endeavouring to position itself as a key player in the international adult education community.

Fostering International Collaborations

This week, ALW representatives are joining European adult educators at the EAEA Conference in Helsinki, underscoring the importance of international collaborations in advancing lifelong learning. This opportunity has enabled ALW to assess its progress in establishing global partnerships in the adult learning community, aligning with the direction set by its members and stakeholders. Positioned strategically with various international education organisations, ALW has been fostering knowledge sharing and best practices over the past year.

At the conference, ALW will showcase the Literacy & Storytelling project, born from a meeting between ALW’s Regional Manager, Beth John, and Professor Dina Soeiro from the School of Education at Polytechnic University of Coimbra, Portugal, during last year’s EAEA Conference in Zagreb. This initiative allows global educational institutions to collaborate and exhibit their learners’ work on a new website developed by ALW’s Digital Department. Modelled on Zagreb’s ‘Museum of Broken Relationships’, the ‘Storytelling’ project explores the power of ‘Oral Histories’, with learners sharing narratives on life, love, and loss through mediums like writing, speech, photography, video, and art. The project is scheduled for an official launch in July 2024.

ALW has a modern history of establishing strategic learning partnerships on the European stage, as evidenced by the 2015/16 EDGE project. This Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership in Adult Education, supported by EU funding, saw ALW collaborate with other adult education bodies such as LCEBT Ireland, VHS Wein Austria, DAFNI KEK Greece, and INSIGNARE Portugal to tackle the phenomenon of social and job exclusion. The collaborative project aimed to compile best practice guidelines to improve learner numbers and retentions, leading to a shared Open Badge Progression Digital system. These Open Badges were developed to recognize the participation of young people, educators, and youth workers in Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange activities, which continued until the project’s completion in 2020.

In addition to these partnerships, ALW has recently joined several strategic European and global education partners:

  1. IFWEA: In the spring of 2024, ALW joined the International Federation of Worker’s Education Associations (IFWEA), which focuses on adult education opportunities for workers and their communities. Founded in 1947, IFWEA promotes the education of the democratic labour movement and offers free and voluntary education based on principles of solidarity, cooperation, justice, equality, democracy, and freedom.
  2. EAEA: ALW joined the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) in the summer of 2023 and was inaugurated at its Annual Conference in Zagreb, Croatia. Representing over 120 member organisations from 43 countries, the EAEA promotes democracy, intercultural dialogue, social justice, and cooperation. ALW is proud to lead a European project with another EAEA partner, focusing on capturing learners’ oral histories.
  3. ESREA: In the spring of 2024, ALW joined the European Society of Research on the Education of Adults (ESREA) to further its research work in a European context. ESREA’s networks provide collaboration opportunities between the ACL/FE and HE sectors, with ALW contributing valuable classroom practitioner feedback.
  4. ELM Magazine: ELM Magazine is an online journal focusing on lifelong learning and adult education. ALW has been approached to feature its sector-leading work within Wales, spotlighting its curriculum offer, advocacy work, membership scheme, and branch network.

Future collaborations and getting in touch

As it continues to evolve and adapt to the changing needs of learners and the global community, ALW stands as a beacon of excellence and a testament to the transformative power of lifelong learning. By putting adult learning in Wales on the world stage, the organisation is not only enhancing its own reputation but also elevating the status of adult education as a vital component of global development.

If you would like to discuss potential collaborations or learn more about the ‘Learner Literacy Narratives: A Library of Life, Love, and Loss’ project, please contact ALW’s Regional Manager Beth John at beth.john@adultlearning.wales.

Adult Learning Wales (ALW), a prominent Welsh organisation dedicated to the advancement of adult education, is making significant strides in establishing a robust global presence. This move not only highlights the organisation's commitment to fostering lifelong learning but also underscores Wales' role in the international landscape of adult education. By embracing innovative practices and establishing new relationships, ALW is endeavouring to position itself as a key player in the international adult education community.

Fostering International Collaborations

This week, ALW representatives are joining European adult educators at the EAEA Conference in Helsinki, underscoring the importance of international collaborations in advancing lifelong learning. This opportunity has enabled ALW to assess its progress in establishing global partnerships in the adult learning community, aligning with the direction set by its members and stakeholders. Positioned strategically with various international education organisations, ALW has been fostering knowledge sharing and best practices over the past year.

At the conference, ALW will showcase the Literacy & Storytelling project, born from a meeting between ALW’s Regional Manager, Beth John, and Professor Dina Soeiro from the School of Education at Polytechnic University of Coimbra, Portugal, during last year’s EAEA Conference in Zagreb. This initiative allows global educational institutions to collaborate and exhibit their learners' work on a new website developed by ALW's Digital Department. Modelled on Zagreb’s ‘Museum of Broken Relationships’, the ‘Storytelling’ project explores the power of ‘Oral Histories’, with learners sharing narratives on life, love, and loss through mediums like writing, speech, photography, video, and art. The project is scheduled for an official launch in July 2024.

ALW has a modern history of establishing strategic learning partnerships on the European stage, as evidenced by the 2015/16 EDGE project. This Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership in Adult Education, supported by EU funding, saw ALW collaborate with other adult education bodies such as LCEBT Ireland, VHS Wein Austria, DAFNI KEK Greece, and INSIGNARE Portugal to tackle the phenomenon of social and job exclusion. The collaborative project aimed to compile best practice guidelines to improve learner numbers and retentions, leading to a shared Open Badge Progression Digital system. These Open Badges were developed to recognize the participation of young people, educators, and youth workers in Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange activities, which continued until the project's completion in 2020.

In addition to these partnerships, ALW has recently joined several strategic European and global education partners:

  1. IFWEA: In the spring of 2024, ALW joined the International Federation of Worker’s Education Associations (IFWEA), which focuses on adult education opportunities for workers and their communities. Founded in 1947, IFWEA promotes the education of the democratic labour movement and offers free and voluntary education based on principles of solidarity, cooperation, justice, equality, democracy, and freedom.
  2. EAEA: ALW joined the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) in the summer of 2023 and was inaugurated at its Annual Conference in Zagreb, Croatia. Representing over 120 member organisations from 43 countries, the EAEA promotes democracy, intercultural dialogue, social justice, and cooperation. ALW is proud to lead a European project with another EAEA partner, focusing on capturing learners' oral histories.
  3. ESREA: In the spring of 2024, ALW joined the European Society of Research on the Education of Adults (ESREA) to further its research work in a European context. ESREA's networks provide collaboration opportunities between the ACL/FE and HE sectors, with ALW contributing valuable classroom practitioner feedback.
  4. ELM Magazine: ELM Magazine is an online journal focusing on lifelong learning and adult education. ALW has been approached to feature its sector-leading work within Wales, spotlighting its curriculum offer, advocacy work, membership scheme, and branch network.

Future collaborations and getting in touch

As it continues to evolve and adapt to the changing needs of learners and the global community, ALW stands as a beacon of excellence and a testament to the transformative power of lifelong learning. By putting adult learning in Wales on the world stage, the organisation is not only enhancing its own reputation but also elevating the status of adult education as a vital component of global development.

If you would like to discuss potential collaborations or learn more about the ‘Learner Literacy Narratives: A Library of Life, Love, and Loss’ project, please contact ALW’s Regional Manager Beth John at beth.john@adultlearning.wales.

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