On 21-28 of August, 2016, the Summer Academy was held in Riga, Latvia which brought together delegates from the Eastern Partnership countries network of DVV International: Moldova, Ukraine and Belarus. The goal was to familiarize the participants with theoretical concepts and international practices in adult education (AE) and lifelong learning (LLL) that would contribute to the building of the educational system in the Eastern Partnership countries. The event was organized by the regional office DVV International based in Ukraine.
The participants were from higher education and research institutions, civil society organizations, key practitioners in adult education and have relevant experience in carrying out trainings for AE specialists in respective countries who would contribute to the development of curricula, guides, training materials, and professionalization of adult educators.
International experts offered insights on transformative learning, self-directed learning, biographical learning and ethics in adult education. Transformative learning is a teaching approach that promotes change. The AE trainer challenges trainees to have a critical approach to their hypotheses accepted as true. Self-directed learning is one of the most researched topics in adult education. This concept is widely used in formal and non-formal education. It is based on encouraging adults to ensure their own learning management and to promote social action. Biographical learning is one of the latest approaches in adult education. Life experiences can be widely used in adult education as a way to understand content, and the way people perceive themselves in the world. In order to support adults in the world of constant changes and challenges, we can use the concept of biographical learning. Also, the event has created a framework for reflection on the term of Bildung (Germ.) to answer some questions about ethical standards in educational practice. In the European context traditional theories of "Bildung" include processes involving transformation and development of the trainee's personality and transformation of relationship between self with the world.
Study visits at the Centers for Adult Education in towns Cesis and Jelgava, Zemgale region, at Novikontas Maritime College, at Commercial Center in Riga, at rural Centre in Jaunpiebalga were important in understanding the processes and effective functioning of various institutions in the adult education system. Theoretical and practical trainings organized in the centers are based on real learning needs of adults, taking into consideration economic and political context of respective region.
Local public administration have an increased interest in conceptual and financial support of centers, as adult education is a priority in the development strategies of localities and regions, since education is the foundation of progress. The staff of Centres for Adult Education constantly generate ideas for developing different projects which are submitted to local and international donors, and develop adult education programs that are useful and interactive in a pleasant and encouraging environment.
Participants will correlate insights offered by experts and study visits at adult education centers to situations in their own country. We anticipate the integration of theoretical and practical approaches and modern international practices in current environments and the implementation of effective measures for adult educators professionalization, as well as the development of centers for adult education in respective countries.