The European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) held it’s AGM (Annual General Meeting) in Tallinn earlier this month. In the Steering Committee meeting in Porto earlier this year the SC had decided that we needed to strengthen our ties with this keyplayer in the European field. Cooperation between EAEA and EPEA so far, had been positive, like exchange of information about each other’s activities, but this had rarely led to concrete outcomes. We think there is more to be learned from each other, which could lead to including prison education more clearly in the policy advises on adult learning strategies. But also this would make the network of adult education providers throughout Europe much more aware of the specific world of prison education.
EAEA is a platform for it’s members and brings together 142 organisations from 44 different countries. EAEA impacts EU policies on non-formal adult education and lifelong learning and cooperates with European Union institutions and many international and national NGOs. This is concretely done through personal meetings with decision makers and stakeholders. They prepare statements as well as respond to surveys and consultations. They also organise events, trainings and play toles in international Adult Education-related projects.
In the two day meeting I was pleasantly surprised to see how many of the EAEA memberorganisations were in some way already linked to prison education. Many or their representatives were surprised to learn about the existence of EPEA. Delegates at the conference asked me many questions about EPEA and or told me about their projects. We will at least link some organisations to our branches in Ireland, the Netherlands and our branches-to-be in Portugal and Italy and link the EAEA as possible partner to the European Training Network, a research project plan initiated by some of our Belgian members.
Each year EAEA gives out a Grundtvig Award for the best national, European or worldwide project. In 2017’s participants list I found at least 4 projects that were done in collaboration with prisons. Of course our Regional Representatives will contact these projects and introduce our own association. One of the 2018 project winners was related to a Romanian Prison, but at least one other project had been done in a Polish prison. As from next year we will keep you informed, to give you an opportunity to enrol your own project into for this Grundtvig Award.
In the coming period we will ask you to take part in some of the EAEA actions. They have for instance drafted a model letter to be sent by member organisations to support EAEA’s comments on the new Erasmus+ plans. We will bring this to the attention to all of you, but especially to our branches to include them actively in the discussions about this topic, that is so relevant for almost all our members.
All in all it was a more than fruitful event, that will bring forth even more cooperation in the period that lies ahead of us.
Annet Bakker – Chair EPEA