Adult Education conference in Zagreb
In the early days of June, Odyssea participated in the EAEA General Assembly and Annual Conference organized in Zagreb, Croatia. The event brought together passionate individuals and organizations dedicated to the transformative themes of green and digital transition in adult education, with a special focus on empowering youth for the challenges that lie ahead. Our organization had the privilege of engaging with esteemed professionals, participating in thought-provoking discussions on transformative learning and values, and exploring a multitude of inspiring projects and initiatives.
The conference commenced with a resounding emphasis on the vital role of green and digital transition in education, recognizing their profound impact on shaping a sustainable future. The sessions delved into various topics, ranging from vocational education and training (VET) to transformative learning and values, illuminating the pathways towards a greener and more digitally empowered society.
Throughout the event, concerns were raised regarding the diminishing national funding for education. These concerns spurred conversations about alternative sources of support, including initiatives like the Erasmus program. Furthermore, there were extensive deliberations on the importance of inclusive and accessible adult learning and education (ALE) for migrants and refugees, highlighting the urgent need for providing equal opportunities to all individuals.
One of the most poignant discussions revolved around the challenges faced by Ukraine, a nation grappling with the displacement of a significant portion of its population. The session shed light on the pressing need for employment opportunities and skills validation, as well as the crucial role of retraining programs for individuals affected by displacement. Moreover, the imperative for peace-building and reconciliation efforts was emphasized, recognizing education as a powerful catalyst for healing and progress.
The conference highlighted the importance of preparing for an unpredictable future while striving for sustainability.
Dr. Wals emphasized the importance of developing critical skills such as empathy, open-mindedness, and critical thinking, despite the challenges of measuring these skills within a funding system that favors quantifiable outcomes.
Among the conference’s highlights was the captivating speech delivered by Dr. Arjen Wals, focusing on the three fundamental education goals: active citizenship, employability, and values for sustainable education. Dr. Wals emphasized the importance of developing critical skills such as empathy, open-mindedness, and critical thinking, despite the challenges of measuring these skills within a funding system that favors quantifiable outcomes.
Participants collectively acknowledged the need for swift responses to the ever-evolving changes we face. The conference highlighted the importance of preparing for an unpredictable future while striving for sustainability. Emphasizing the shift from diverse core beliefs to shared normative beliefs, the event showcased the European Framework for Green Competencies as a guide for cultivating essential green skills.
The conference was a truly enriching experience, fostering inspiring discussions, showcasing innovative projects, and nurturing a collective vision for a sustainable future. Leaving the event, Odyssea was fueled with motivation to replace fear with hope, recognizing education and pedagogy as powerful tools to shape a brighter tomorrow. As an organization committed to making a positive impact, we pledge to integrate the invaluable insights gained from this conference into our work, contributing to the green and digital transition and empowering individuals for a more sustainable and prosperous future.
As Gina Ebner, Secretary General of EAEA, suggested about fear, “We can bring them to the forefront and multiply them through educators and learners. We can also use them to highlight the way forward, the way through the complexity”.