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IP/10/1156

Brussels, 22 September 2010

10th anniversary of Grundtvig programme: EU supports 'second chance' through adult education

Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, will take part in events in Copenhagen on 22-23 September to mark the 10th anniversary of Grundtvig, the European Union's adult education programme. Grundtvig helps adults boost their skills and employability by providing financial support for training courses and learning mobility. The Commission believes this support is needed more than ever to overcome the crisis and to free up all of Europe's growth potential, by ensuring that those who missed opportunities in the past are able to flourish in the future. Over the past decade, the programme has invested €370 million in the adult education sector and provided 17 000 grants for organisations involving an estimated 500 000 participants.

"Grundtvig gives adults of all ages a second chance to gain skills and qualifications which will improve their job prospects and personal development," said Commissioner Vassiliou. "The programme supports a wide range of organisations, with a strong focus on disadvantaged adults. It is a vital part of the European Commission's strategy for lifelong learning and will contribute to our Youth on the Move initiative and the Europe 2020 goals for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth."

The Grundtvig programme helps adults who left school with basic or no qualifications, as well as providing support for teachers, trainers and other staff in adult education centres and associations, counselling organisations, information services, NGOs, enterprises, voluntary groups and research centres.

The specific aims of the Grundtvig programme are to:

  • Improve the quality of training courses and increase the mobility of learners and adult education teachers and staff;

  • Ensure that people on the margins of society have access to adult education, especially older people and those without basic qualifications;

  • Improve co-operation between adult education organisations;

  • Develop innovative adult education and management practices, and encourage widespread implementation; 

  • Support ICT-based educational content, services and practices.

Funding

The total budget for the Grundtvig programme in 2007-13 is €415 million. In 2009, the programme allocated €62 million to 1540 organisations involved in learning partnerships. In total, 26 000 individual participants across Europe were involved in learning partnerships and other mobility actions.

Since 2000, almost 14 000 grants have been paid to organisations participating in more than 3,000 learning partnerships; for many, Grundtvig has given them their first experience of working with similar organisations elsewhere in Europe.

In the past ten years almost 15 000 teachers and other staff have received in-service training or carried out a teaching assignment with the support of Grundtvig. This figure is expected to reach over 20 000 by the end of 2013.

Since the launch of new opportunities for mobility in 2009, some 5 000 adult learners from 30 countries have received a grant to participate in learning experiences and volunteering activities abroad to increase their personal development skills.

The programme emphasises on support for co-operation projects and networks to develop and disseminate innovative approaches to adult learning. Some 700 such initiatives have been carried out since the programme began, involving around 4 000 partners Euro-wide.

Commissioner Vassiliou will meet Grundtvig beneficiaries and adult education experts during a conference to mark the 10th anniversary of the programme in Copenhagen on 23 September. She will also meet the Danish Minister of Education, Tina Nedergaard. Her visit will begin on 22 September with a visit to the Danish School of Education at Aarhus University (press conference: 13:15). The Commissioner will also meet the Minister of Culture, Per Stig Møller.

A public consultation on the future of the Commission's Lifelong Learning Programme, which includes Grundtvig, opened on 15 September (see http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/education_culture/consult/index_en.html).

Who was Grundtvig?

The Grundtvig programme is named after the Danish philosopher, theologian and teacher Nikolaj Grundtvig (1783-1872). He is regarded as the ‘father’ of the Folk High School movement, which began in Denmark in the mid-19th century and spread across the Nordic region and to many other countries.

Grundtvig was a staunch supporter of educating adults so that they could serve their communities. He believed study in the classroom had its limits and that real learning came with life itself – education through life, education for life.

Lifelong Learning Programme

Grundtvig is one of the four arms of the European Commission's Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP), which enables people at all stages of their lives to take part in learning experiences, as well as helping to develop the education and training sector in Europe. The other three funding arms of the LLP are: Erasmus, which focuses on higher education, Leonardo da Vinci for vocational education and training, and Comenius for schools.

The four sub-programmes fund a range of actions including exchanges, study visits and networking activities. The projects are targeted at individual students and learners, as well as teachers, trainers and others involved in education and training.

The total budget for the Lifelong Learning Programme is €7 billion in 2007-2013.

More information:

European Commission: The Grundtvig programme

Copenhagen conference website:

http://ec.europa.eu/education/grundtvig/doc2502_en.htm

Conference "Grundtvig, a decade of European innovation in adult learning":

http://ec.europa.eu/education/grundtvig/doc1974_en.htm).

Facts & figures about EU mobility programmes in education, training, research and youth: http://ec.europa.eu/education/focus/doc/mobilityfigures.pdf


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