Inclusion: Lifelong Learning for AllPosted: July 11, 2012 | |
On the 20 June I had the opportunity to attend the final Inclusion conference on the theme of Lifelong Learning for All. The Inclusion initiative involves 14 National Agencies from across Europe all working together to ensure that the Lifelong Learning Programme is open and accessible for everyone.
For many of our projects, and those funded by our European counterparts, social inclusion is, and always will be, at the heart of what they do. Working with under-represented groups and meeting their needs is a key priority for them and funding from the LLP helps them to breakdown the barriers for these groups.
The Inclusion conference was a chance to bring over 170 people from 22 European countries to showcase their projects and enabled them to work together to share their views on how we can improve social cohesion, inspire active citizenship and reduce inequality.
Inclusion: in their own words
Paul Baron from the Bhagavat Educational Trust presented his project, Living and Learning Abroad, which has given over 100 young disadvantaged participants from the UK the chance to experience working in orphanages in Bulgaria:
After the presentation I caught up with Paul to find out more about his views on Inclusion:
Tom Jones and Robert Nutt from Cerebral Palsy Midlands spoke about their Grundtvig Partnership, Makeable, they were joined on stage by some of their beneficiaries who had been involved in the project. One of the main outcomes of the project was a song and dance performed by all the project members, a celebration of the benefits of the partnership:
I was able to speak to Tom and Robert as well as Sam and Ian, two of the beneficiaries involved, to find out why they thought Inclusion was so important and why it is at the heart of what they do:
Looking towards a socially inclusive future
During the conference I also managed to speak to Géraldine Libreau, from DG Education and Culture, European Commission, who has worked closely with the Inclusion initiative. She spoke about social inclusion in the current Lifelong Learning Programme and Erasmus for All:
The Inclusion network has greatly advanced the discussion and knowledge on inclusion and equal opportunities in the Lifelong Learning Programme, and has provided a number of case studies and recommendations which will be very useful for the future implementation of the Erasmus for All programme.
It has also created links with other programmes, such as the Youth in Action programme which will also be part of Erasmus for All. This is a great step forward for increasing the work on social inclusion in formal and informal education and training.
The Inclusion conference was an inspiring, humbling and motivating experience. It brought together so many people, all working towards the same shared aim. I hope that the good work that our projects are doing and the recommendations put forward by the Inclusion initiative will help even more people in under-representated groups and ensure that the future brings Lifelong Learning for All.