Folkbildning and adult education from a European perspective

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IMPLEMENTING OUTREACH, EMPOWERMENT, DIVERSITY. Adult education can be a powerful tool to change societies. The guiding principles of OED are an example of it. 

When the Swedish service organisation for the Swedish folk high school. FSO, together with the board for EAEA in May 2018 arranged a seminar in the Swedish folk high school Tollare folk high school on Folkbildning and Adult education from a European Perspective, it was said more than once that adult learning can contribute to the development of society. In the seminar it was discussed what adult education needs to be able to contribute to a democratic development.

Lee Rachel Andersen from Denmark lectured at the seminar. She has, together with Tomas Björkman from Sweden, written a book about how societies can go through major technological, economic and structural changes peacefully. The answer is the Nordic secret. It is called “Bildung” in Germany and “bildning” and “folkbildning” in Swedish. The equivalent word does not exist in English. The Nordic secret – a European story of beauty and freedom describes the historic development of the Nordic societies and the role of adult learning in the concept of “folkbildning” funded and supported by the state but inclusive, free and fairly independent from state regulation.

Today in Sweden “folkbildning” plays an important role in the inclusion of migrants. At the seminar it was said that the key principles in the OED project, Outreach, Empowerment, Diversity and Learning for Active Citizenship, described by the partners in the project, are useful tools to further develop a strong adult education movement in Europe that can support a peaceful development of the society.

Text and photo: Ingegerd Axelsson Le Douaron