This year’s international conference, entitled Building Bridges in Adult Education, was organised on 22 and 23 September in Belgrade by the Adult Education Society of Serbia. It was attended by the representatives from the host country as well as adult educators from Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and North Macedonia. Around 80 experts and practitioners attended the conference. The underlying theme of the programme was quality in AE.
On day one, we viewed videos contributions from all participating countries on the key development achievements in adult education over the course of the year. The representatives of the Association of Slovenian Adult Education Centres and the SAEA highlighted the achievements, while I, the author of the article, presented the key development tasks and achievements at the national systemic level as the SIAE representative.
This was followed by examples of good practice. Contributions varied, whereby authors combined plenary contributions with presentations and films. Slovenians decided to present the example of good practice of the Ajdovščina AEC highlighting their mobilizing role in the local community and strong cooperation with local firms in the form of a video film. The presentation garnered a lot of interest and commendations from our colleagues from other countries.
The third part of the programme on day one involved the representatives of the Adult Education Society of Serbia coordinating the active collaboration dealing with quality in AE in the form of an open space. We defined five key areas that are important for quality and its development in adult education, i.e.: educational programmes, leadership, educators, working and learning environment and networking. We identified the key objectives and obstacles that stand in the way of their achievement; and we also prioritised them. The last portion focused on identifying priorities that we could develop and improve together. The organisers will prepare a summary and recommendations for further development and cooperation in the development of quality in AE in the region.
The second day was set aside for a visit to the “Sonja Marinković” agriculture school with student dormitory in Požarevac. We visited the Continued Adult Education Centre that operates within the school. The school’s management and teaching practitioners first presented the educational programmes of the centre, work conditions and the characteristics of the enrolled generation. Practitioners presented the personal and practical results of professional training within the project that was conducted by the Adult Education Department of the Faculty of Arts in Belgrade. The results and practical experience were presented on an example of implemented educational programmes for persons who were serving sentences in prison.
We finished off the visit at the dormitory where both pupils and adults from across Serbia enrolled in education and training programmes can stay.
Materials and tables with recommendations are available on the events’ website (in Serbian).
Andrej Sotošek, MSc (Andrej.firstname.lastname@example.org), SIAE