Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training
Global and Intercultural Dimension in Curriculum Development
Adult education has been the subject of a Green Paper and White Paper in recent years, as part of the developing policy of lifelong learning. The European and international dimension is specifically included in these key policy documents. The documents have also benefited from an awareness of the research and good practice in international contexts. There is a great range of providers and types of courses available for adult education. These include literacy programmes, back-to-education programmes, community-based programmes etc. Those concerned with literacy and basic training tend to have a very clear focus on their immediate objectives. Other courses, at more advanced levels, do include material with international relevance. Many of the courses in youth and adult education have benefited from EU support funding. Irish adult educators have a lot of international links with colleagues in adult education and sometimes engage in multi-party research projects. Irish adult educators have also had a long track-record of involvement in Irish and international aid projects to under-developed countries. As the sector evolves in the light of strengthening national policy, it is likely that the international dimension will form a more significant part of the adult education programmes in the future.
Partnerships and Networks
The Grundtvig Learning Partnership is a framework for practical cooperation activities between organisations working in the field of adult education. These projects provide those working in the field of adult education and their learners the opportunity to work together on one or more topics of common interest. This involves the exchange of experiences, practices and methods and contributes to an increased awareness of the varied European cultural, social and economic context, and to a better understanding of areas of common interest in the area of adult education.
The project must consist of a minimum three partners each located in a different country participating in the Lifelong Learning Programme. The themes and topics covered by projects reflect the issues of concern for the adult education sector. In 2010, topics included projects addressing the needs of adults in education with intellectual disability; validating prior learning, education needs of carers, migrant education, diversity/ interculturalism and other issues experienced by adults retuning to education. Projects have also addressed learning through different media including community radio, the arts and other technologies.
The Grundtvig Learning Partnership is viewed as a test bed of innovation and a framework by which organisations and individuals can engage with new ideas and experiences that can enrich old and new debates. For an island nation the opportunity to facilitate a European and international perspective on the work is an invaluable one to ensure development of knowledge, values and skills which underpin a high quality adult education sector. There were 22 projects supported in 2010.
The Grundtvig Senior Volunteering Projects supports bilateral partnerships and exchanges between local organisations located in two countries participating in the Lifelong Learning Programme. This action was introduced to the Grundtvig Programme in 2007. This form of mobility fosters collaboration between organisations which send and host volunteers aged 50 plus. It facilitates new types of organisations to participate in the Grundtvig Programme, enrich their work through the exchange of good practice and create sustainable European collaboration. There have been two projects supported under this action since 2007.