Conference: Adult Education and Pandemic: Challenges. Opportunities. Future.

To mark the 21st anniversary of the Institute for International Cooperation of the German Adult Education Association – DVV International in Bosnia and Herzegovina, from 23 to 25 June 2021, a conference „Adult Education and Pandemic: Challenges. Opportunities. Future.“ was held.

The conference gathered key actors in the field of adult education: former and current ministers of education, heads of departments and advisers within the ministries, representatives of the organisations providing adult education, as well as representatives of the academic community, who discuss the ways the COVID-19 pandemic has changed experiences and practice of adult education in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the region and Europe, aiming to discover the best practices and good examples how to develop adult education in the future adequately.

Migration from the formal to non-formal and informal education, an intense application of information-communication technologies, change of teaching models and patterns, adjusting the adult education system with all its segments to the „new normal“ are some of the challenges adult education faced in the previous pandemic year. Even though all of the mentioned challenges are global, responding to them was not the same in all parts of the world. The aim of this conference is, thus, to lighten the ways in which Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also the region of South East Europe, has coped with those challenges, and based on that derive some recommendations for the future, not only for adult education but education in general, particularly in the context of its transformative potentials and possibilities to enhance social practices.

Key conclusions:

  • The changes brought by the New Normal reflect new educational needs and the need for new ways of satisfying these needs.
  • It is necessary to develop new educational needs, approaches and methods in adult education.
  • Given that the pandemic caused a rapid and sudden shift to digital platforms and distance learning, it is essential to develop new cooperation models in the online environment, digital competencies and media and information literacy, and support active citizenship education.
  • It is essential to use the acquired experiences, apply positive practices, be prepared to adjust and change, and raise tolerance to non-traditional teaching forms.
  • Crucial issues are adopting standards, purposeful assessment of outcomes and maintaining quality in adult education.
  • The responsibility in this field is shared between competent educational authorities, adult education providers, and users/participants themselves.
  • It is necessary to secure continuous financial support since budget resources and donors' funds in education, including adult education, decrease.
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