Grundtvig International Network of Course Organisers
Alden Biesen, October 2011
Open Letter to the Members of the LLP Committee:
For a strong adult education in-service training element in the new funding programme for education and training
Dear Members of the LLP Committee
In the current negotiations about the new generation of EU funding programmes in education and training after 2013 we would like to draw your particular attention on the urgent need to ensure that there will be a strong element of in-service training of staff in general adult education, i.e. that the current LLP action Grundtvig IST will continue and indeed be further enhanced. As Members of the LLP Committee you play an important role in the decision process, and we therefore seek you active support in this issue.
GINCO, the Grundtvig International Network of Course Organisers, represents and supports adult education organisations actually running Grundtvig courses or planning to do so in the future. In the network we share expertise, create and disseminate useful material and enhance communication and cooperation in order to improve the quality of Grundtvig courses, to enlarge the scope of provision and to improve the visibility and success of the action and the courses.
Grundtvig in-service training courses have proved to be a valuable part of the current and past programme period. Above all, there are at least five strong arguments in favour of continuing and this action line with an increased level of funding.
Grundtvig courses provide an ideal platform to exploit LLP project outcomes
Centralised LLP projects always face the challenge of ‘dissemination and exploitation’. The products and services generated by projects are meant to be disseminated, used, and mainstreamed. Turning project outcomes into a Grundtvig in-service training course can be a major step in this process.
The development of a Grundtvig course urges the partnership to rethink the outcomes and to ‘translate’ them into transnational transferable products. The Grundtvig course system offers new European target groups: adult educators, the ideal disseminators and multipliers for project outcomes, ‘mainstreamers’ in their organisation and in their country. At the same time course participants are also professionals and can offer a European added value for organisers and project partners by providing qualified feedback on the products and add their national view on the methodology and the applicability of the outcomes.
Grundtvig courses open up a sustainability perspective for LLP projects
Grundtvig courses also contribute to the sustainability of LLP projects and their outcomes. The grant system for participants gives the necessary funding and opportunity for (at least a part of) the consortium to continue the cooperation beyond the initial funding period. The repeated course development will also urge for renewing the material as a result of the feedback provided by professional learners. Through the courses projects can develop a European network of users not only offering a Europe-wide application field but also a broader field for policy making. The funding system of the course will also make it easier to find an institutional roof for the project outcomes.
Grundtvig courses act as a test bed for innovation in European adult education
If Europe is to find an adequate response to the challenges posed by a rapidly changing and globalised world, innovation in education and training is critical. Multilateral Projects in the LLP develop such innovative concepts, and they can be spread to professionals from all member states through Grundtvig courses. Thus, Grundtvig courses act as laboratories of the future.
Grundtvig courses make a substantial contribution to the professionalization of adult education staff
European in-service training courses are an answer to the widely acknowledged need for training and development of adult education staff in Europe. The European Commission’s Action Plan on Adult Learning highlights several priorities related to the quality of adult education staff as a crucial means to build a “high quality and accessible adult learning system”.
Responding to changes in learning, teaching, educational settings and the needs and priorities of adult learners in Europe requires highly qualified adult education staff. The sector faces a wide variety of actors, their educational background and occupational status with big differences across European countries. Grundtvig courses help adult educators broaden their scope and keep up with innovation, they also offer Europe an ideal system for the dissemination of educational policies and priorities.
Grundtvig courses promote competence driven teaching and learning
As part of the Lisbon Strategy the concept of lifelong learning implies a focus on competences – rather than knowledge – as outcomes of the learning process. The European Reference Framework “each citizen will need to adapt flexibly to a rapidly changing and highly interconnected world”. In this concept the role of education should change to stimulating and helping the learner to acquire these competences. The on-going (r)evolution in the information society and the opportunities it offers reinforce this need.
Further professional development of the adult educators is crucial in this process, they too have to become lifelong learners and develop their own key competences as educators, as a European Commission study on Key Competences for Adult Learning Professionals (http://ec.europa.eu/education/more-information/doc/2010/keycomp.pdf) stresses. In this respect the Grundtvig courses can be the ideal vehicle for the professionalization of adult education staff through providing competence –driven in-service training.
We hope that these key arguments in favour of a strong Grundtvig IST element in the new funding programme will be heard, and we do hope that you as Members of the LLP Committee will help us to spread these arguments among decision-makers at national and European level. If you need further input or if you would like to discuss any matter related to European in-service training of adult education staff we will be more than happy to start a dialogue with you.
Thank you very much in advance for you efforts.
Landcommanderij Alden Biesen
GINCO network coordinator