“Can I do it?” – we asked in surprise to ourselves and each other. Not only “I can do it”. It is necessary. For me, for everybody, for person in general. It should be freedom of expression, we must liberate our soul and hands, feel, “catch” our abilities and use them to be stronger over a life.
Human life is full of dynamic changes. Adult education is one of the most reliable opportunities for filling the gaps in professional competences and greater confidence. On the other hand, constantly increasing pace of life changes raises new requirements for adult education organizers – to be flexible, creative, constantly upgrade their professional qualifications, and etc.
In 2000 in response to UNESCO’s call to promote lifelong learning, Lithuanian Association of Adult Education (LAAE) organized the Adult Learning Week (ALW) for the first time in Lithuania. This campaign gave a wonderful opportunity to reflect on both individual and societal needs, to consider the backlog of problems and to look for possible solutions.
Since then Adult Learning Week’s movement in Lithuania has become traditional. This campaign encourages to progress, examines and disseminates good learning experiences, draws attention to the problems of adult education and presents them at different political levels.
All types of adult education institutions, communities, non-governmental organizations, cultural institutions, libraries, museums are invited to join the movement on this Weeks.
During the ALW members of LAAE are organizing open activities in all Lithuania. Traditional activities at ALW are: working meetings, conferences, lectures, discussions, exhibitions. They are targeted for adult part of the society, living in big cities, regional centres, small towns and rural areas: teachers/andragogues, adults – citizens, migrants, elderly people, policy makers. The events are emphasise the necessity for such measures, collect the best adult learning practice, and disseminate it. The attractive learning forms as well as methods are strengthen the adults’ motivation to get involved into the learning process. Every year are participated about 200 institutions, about 300 events has been organized.
Conferences are using as opening or closing events of adult ALW. All participants can participate in the discussions, share their experiences and they feel that they are part of the common event. Shared programmes and promotion materials of LAAE is using to promote the event.
This event is good possibility to promote lifelong learning opportunities at different levels with the participation of politicians, local authorities, experts, professionals, teachers/andragogues and practitioners.
Activities are supporting by leaflets and posters distributed before and during the ALW. A calendar for the next year illustrated with photos, quotations, thoughts, paintings and drawings of events of adult learners week is distributed throughout the country to regional and local coordinators.
Since 2005 the organizers of the ALW, invented an award for projects and actions initiated by citizens (i.e. not organizations-led). The aim of the competition is to increase publicity for adult education and to present good practice in local, regional and national events. The three most original projects are awarded an LAAE Diploma and a set of LAAE publications.
In 2008 Year Andragogues election has been organized and is carried out every year.
The ALWs are implemented in close co-operation with the national and regional mass-media – the press, local TV. Mass-media’s task – to present the practice examples of adult learning, provide a rostrum to various groups of the society to say their approach towards the importance of lifelong learning, its benefits and necessity.
Each of ALWs was devoted to a particular topic important to the society at large and/or adult education:
- 2000 – “Adult education: a right, privilege or obligation” (for general adult education issues).
- 2001 – “Language Year in Europe” (for national and other language teaching IB).
- 2002 – “Education against social exclusion” (for risk groups for inclusion in the learning and social life).
- 2003 – “Learning closer to man” (for learning opportunities in places near home, public awareness of them, authorities located in marginal areas, opening up education and training that would be acceptable and attractive to adult humans, promotion).
- 2004 – “We – the Europeans. We invite you to learn tolerance” (for Lithuania’s accession to the European Union and the human values of the inner, with special emphasis on tolerance and tolerance for other education).
- 2005 – “Citizenship in practice” (to mark the year on the citizenship and adult education as a means to foster civic activity, opportunity detection, and dissemination).
- 2006 – „Education for culture. Culture for education” (for adult education institutions have traditionally not considered as organizers of education – libraries, cultural clubs, museums, art and cultural centers).
- 2007 – “Learning together: children, parents and grandparents” (for the times learning together, co-educational activity in families as a basis to communicate, to better understand one another, the transfer of the learning experience).
- 2008 – “Culture + Language = Dialogue of Cultures” (to respond to the European Parliament and the Council’s decision to publish the year 2008 European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, the United Nations and UNESCO’s decision to publish the year 2008 International Year of Languages, the European Union’s Communication “It is never too late to learn” Lithuanian and Lifelong learning strategies provisions).
- 2009 – “Seven days of creativity in education, culture and business” (given to creativity and innovation in learning and teaching, education, art, culture, business and social connections in everyday human life).
- 2010 – “Learning organization: from rhetoric to actions!” (given to ideas of the Adult education world conference CONFINTEA VI (2009), one of which is fostering key competences of adults in the context of the learning organization).
- 2011 – “From the third to the twenty-first century. Options in the autumn” (given to educational realities of the 21st century – learning to know, learning to act, learning to live together, learning to be).
- 2012 – “Generations Learning Together” (given to intergenerational solidarity, continuity and progression in learning ideas and implement to: family, community, society and in Lithuanian Adult Education Association (we are already 20 years!).
- 2013 – “Convergence: from the personal self to the citizen” (invited to get closer: with yourself, your community, nation, country and global world learning themselves and helping others to learn to be conscious citizens of Lithuania and Europe).
- 2014 – “Tree of Life” (on sustainable development and the dissemination of ideas of its practical application).
Duration of ALWs – one week in November – every year.
The ALW movement is annually joined very active participation of adult learners and andragogues from all Lithuania. The popularity of the Adult Education Week is explained by the fact that the national initiator as well as its organiser is the LAAE. The ALWs are being organised in close co-operation with the regional co-ordinators of the ALW. The LAAE members are actively involved into the events as well as all the legal and physical persons/bodies interested in adult education – Teacher Training Centres, Universities, Culture Institutions, communities and the local neighbourhoods, non-governmental organisations, etc. The major principles of the AEW organisation are volunteerism, complete freedom to implement the ideas and trust.
The project was and is supported by:
- Each institution, on its own initiative and expense hosting the ALW events
- DVV International
- Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Lithuania
- Nordic Academy
- Soros International House
- Lithuanian National Commission for UNESCO
- The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania
- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania
“Response of the Week makes us feel happy. Even now, after some time has passed from the Week, workers osf adult education institutions phone up and ask how they can join such events in the future.” (Roma Koncevičienė, Vilma Tubutienė, Marijampolė).
“I wish that themes of the Week change every year. Including different strata of society and expanding the circle of organizers, we will move the masses and also those who are responsible for adult education.” (Roma Koncevičienė, Marijampolė).
“We were surprised by activity and attention of the media. After hearing about the Week they came to the events themselves or invited participants to Radio or TV. Organizing the third Week, we proved it to be not onetime event. It should be supported and encouraged.” (Loreta Staškūnienė, Klaipėda).
“It is very important that during the Week you can move to other town, meet people that are engaged in the same activities and solve similar problems.” (Rita Vargalytė, Telšiai).
“Discussion was started among those who organize and carry out adult education: education department, secondary schools, professional training centre, adult secondary school, labour exchange, heads of youth centres and businessmen.” (Nijolė Meilutienė, Tauragė).
“Organizing events we often direct our activities only to educators of adults – teachers. But adult learners meet representatives of different spheres, and those people meet during the Week. They have an opportunity to debate, to know each other better, to set up contacts and discuss common activity. It is good that after events they stress that they have met congenials.” (Vilma, Šiauliai).
The Adult Education Week of ours, might be compared to the woman on the Adult Education Week poster – a bird, which circles over Lithuania, making bigger circles every time and involving more and more people striving at happiness…
Fly high, Adult Education Week!
the Secretary Executive of LAAE