In March 16, 2023, foundation Smart minds organized online discussion on the promotion of adult education in municipalities.
The results of the survey of persons involved in adult education, which was conducted in February 2023, were presented in the discussion. In survey participated 34 participants.
1) 67.6% of the respondents supported the opinion that in order to involve more adults in adult education, it is necessary to strengthen the coordination of adults at the local government level.
2) 73% believe that the involvement of adults in learning can be improved - by promoting the culture of lifelong learning, by informing society about the need and role of adult education; 67.6% - through a unified public information portal about adult education opportunities and 64.9% - by providing targeted, informative support on education opportunities in the local municipality and outside.
3) 36.1% believe that the most effective way of disseminating information about adult education opportunities would be the existence of an unified public information portal about educational opportunities, while 33.3% believe that educational institutions are the most effective way of dissemination; 25% - adult education coordinators.
4) 67.8% believe that the maximum travel distance for an adult to get to the nearest educational institution is up to 15 km.
5) 75.6% believe that the maximum travel distance for an unemployed person to get to the nearest educational institution is up to 15 km.
6) 73% of respondents believe that it is necessary to create a learning center for adults at the municipal level.
7) 67.6% of respondents believe that the adult education coordinator in the local government should work with adult education support.
8) the opinion was divided about monitoring the quality of adult education for the programs implemented in the municipality, the prevailing opinion was that the quality should be monitored both by the municipality, training centers/educational institutions, and state institutions.
9) Adults in rural areas (64.9%), adults with low education (primary and general education) ((64.9%), adults aged 55+ (62.2%) were mentioned as the most vulnerable groups of adults who most need training to improve employability.
10) 75.7% of respondents indicate that human support (coordinator of adult education, specialist of the State Employment Agency, etc.) is the best way for the most vulnerable group of adults to find information about the offered training programs.
11) 100% of the respondents believe that the adult education coordinators of the municipality should cooperate with the Social Services of the Municipality and the State Employment Agency.
During the discussion, the issues of how municipal specialists provide information to local residents, opinions on adult learning centers in the municipality, how to provide support to the most vulnerable groups, the need for a unified information portal on education opportunities, cooperation between institutions (municipal education specialists, social services, State Employment Agency) were discussed. In the discussion, the persons responsible for adult education coordination of municipalities shared their experience of how they promote adult education in the local municipality and each town.
In Jelgava county, the adult education support system is built as close as possible to its residents, i.e. in each town. Education specialists recognize the learning needs of both companies and local residents and look for solutions to help adults learn the necessary skills. For example, at the Center for Restorers, lessons on restoration for adults were created directly at the initiative of local residents.
In the city of Riga, the educational information methodical center of the Riga City Council operates, which provides citizens with information about educational opportunities in cooperation with libraries, educational institutions, through the website of the municipality, booklets and in cooperation with the social service.
In the Smiltene region, education specialists cooperate with social services, the Orphan Court, schools and libraries. The need for a unified approach to the coordination of adults in all regions of Latvia was emphasized. Therefore, it is necessary to involve the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia (VARAM), which is responsible for the network of municipalities, in discussions about the importance of adult education in the development of the county and the functions of the municipality in the coordination of adult education. A survey has been conducted in Smiltene region about the needs of the residents. At the municipal level, there is an understanding of the need for an adult education coordinator, however, at the national level, a profession code is needed for the classification of the position. Currently, there are discussions that this adult education coordinator is needed in every municipality, however, the classification of the position, job duties and tasks must be organized at the national level.
In the AugšDaugava county, adult education coordinators have good cooperation with the social service, which works with social risk groups. The social service actively cooperates with the State Employment Agency. However, it is concluded that there is no organized system at the national level, regulatory acts that would determine a specific scope of responsibility are needed. The need for public education about the importance of education and its impact on employment is emphasized. Improving the skills and employability of county residents is very necessary for county development.
There was a discussion on quality monitoring of non-formal education programs. The representative of the State Education Quality Service informed that the Law on Education sets the requirements for the creation of the informal education program and these are - the learning results to be achieved, the form, language, content, scope and materials and intellectual resources necessary for the implementation of the education must be determined. In addition, currently the work on development of draft regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers is going on, which would determine uniform requirements for the granting of a permit for a non-formal education program. Representatives of local governments indicate the need to set criteria for cancelling and refusing a permit in the draft regulations. It points to the limited capacity of local governments in monitoring adult education providers. It is discussed how to strengthen the public's level of knowledge about quality conditions in non-formal education, because those involved in adult education as service recipients are the main quality evaluators.
- The position of adult education coordinators must be identified in the National Occupational Classification by assigning an occupation code.
- VARAM, as the main responsible ministry for the network of local governments, should be involved in the discussions on the coordination of adult education in order to create a unified approach in all local governments.
- Adult education coordinators are needed to identify the training needs of both businesses and local residents and look for solutions to help adults learn the skills they need as close as possible to where they live.
- The cooperation of adult education coordinators with the municipal social service and other participating institutions should be strengthened, especially in informing vulnerable groups about educational opportunities.
- In the promotion of adult education, it is necessary to create a single information portal on educational opportunities and organize campaigns, infographics on the role of education in improving skills and employability.
The discussion was organized within the framework of the Erasmus+ project "Promoting new adult education opportunities at local level" (No. 2021-1-LV01-KA210-ADU-000034001).