ADULT EDUCATION

Grundtvig: The third education link

Education does not only mean school. It is a process which continues throughout life irrespective of age or place. Grundtvig takes its name from a Danish educationalist who sought to link education with life in general and open it up to everyone. This action targets adult education and other education pathways. It supplements Comenius (school education) and Erasmus (higher education) by forming the third link of a single education chain.
Adult education differs from country to country and situations vary enormously. There are various reasons why adults opt to start learning again. They either want to return to school or university in order to gain new qualifications and find a job more easily. They may want to make good use of their leisure time by investing in their own personal and social development. Or else they may wish to take a step which has to do with being an active citizen and part of the democratic process.
The players involved in adult education are formal (schools, universities) or non-formal institutions (associations, libraries, museums, parents’ organisations, etc.).
Grundtvig targets all adults, while at the same time taking care to encourage those who experience special difficulties in meeting their educational needs, either because they live in disadvantaged or isolated areas, because they hampered by difficult social circumstances or have an inadequate knowledge base. There is a compelling case for giving a second chance to adults (irrespective of age) who have been excluded from the school system by helping them to acquire a basic level of knowledge, by restoring their confidence, and by acknowledging certain skills or competencies obtained outside the school context.
Through Grundtvig, the European Commission supports four types of activities.

  • Cooperation projects relate to adult education institutions and organisations which wish to undertake a tangible project or a joint production through European cooperation. An example is the development of systems for accrediting or validating skills acquired via the informal system of education. Another example is developing new training modules and new teaching methods.

Cooperation projects may involve mobility, but only to a marginal extent in relation to the primary aim of cooperation, viz. producing a European education product.

  • Education partnerships are intended for smaller organisations and provide for smaller scale cooperation. The emphasis is generally on the preliminary contact between partners in different countries which can subsequently lead to more ambitious things. Education partnerships seek, for instance, to organise conferences, exhibitions or visits, in order to exchange experiences, practices and methods. This means that mobility has a greater role to play in this context.
  • Mobility for training activities involves assistance for trainers who decide to undertake a course in another country for a period of 1-4 weeks. This mobility concerns all categories of staff involved in adult education, be they teachers, managers or administrative personnel, advisers, mediators or mentors/tutors.
  • Lastly, Grundtvig networks provide the players involved in adult education with a lasting basis for discussion and permit very broad dissemination of innovatory practices and ideas in this context. There are two types of such networks: thematic networks which are forums for debating key issues, and project networks which provide an opportunity for the institutions taking part in a partnership to pursue their work together while passing on the results of their work to a wider range of bodies.

Postal address:

Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency
Unit P1 - Grundtvig - BOUR 2/34
Avenue du Bourget 1
BE-1140 Brussels

For the agencies physical address, please see our contact page.

Telephone & Email:
Ramunas Kuncaitis: 0032 - 2 - 29 50795
eacea-p1---grundtvig@ec.europa.eu