intergenerational learning 0More needs to be done in Europe to embed intergenerational learning into policy and practice, a recent seminar has claimed. In opening remarks at the EUCIS-LLL policy debate that took place in Brussels on 31st March, Austrian MEP Heinz K.Becker stressed the need to raise public awareness of the value of intergenerational learning: “if this is the focus, other things will follow," he said. It is crucial that intergenerational learning, in which older and younger age groups learn together and from each other, enters mainstream thinking.

Picking up on these points, Gina Ebner, Secretary General of the European Association for the Education of Adults, drew attention to the need to move “from projects to systems". While there have been many examples of good projects, many funded by the EU, intergenerational learning is still not embedded in strategies for lifelong learning. “At most we are at an intermediate stage now," she said. “Everyone agrees on the benefits, but no one takes responsibility."

In this context, participants debated the need to develop capacity tailored to circumstances in individual countries. Heinz Becker noted that Austria benefits from the Austrian Senior Citizens' Association (ÖSB) which has 700,000 paying members from a population of only 2 million pensioners, although such an infrastructure would be hard to replicate. Meanwhile in France, the “Ensemble Demain” association has since 1999 encouraged teachers to develop intergenerational projects throughout the school year. As Carole Gadet from the French Ministry of Education told participants, activities involve the widest range of stakeholders (from theatres to nursing homes) and subjects (including singing and poetry).

The event was organised by the European Civil Society Platform on Lifelong Learning (EUCIS-LLL), with the support of MEP Heinz K.Becker (EPP, AT). It attracted civil society organisations, and researchers, as well as representatives from the European institutions, to listen to examples of existing practices and to debate policy solutions.

Source Epale : http://ec.europa.eu/epale/en/content/intergenerational-learning-needs-become-part-mainstream