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International EZA seminar on Life-Long Learning in the Baltic States and EU

In May 21-23, 2020, Latvian Christian Academy hosted international online seminar “Life-Long Learning for Increasing Labour Participation and Inclusive Work-Life in the Baltic States and Other EU countries”. The seminar was organized in cooperation with European Commission organization European Centre for Workers’ Questions (EZA, Germany). Due to Covid-19 restrictions only speakers from the Baltic States were able to be present, whereas all participants and speakers from Germany and Poland were connected online. There participated 113 participants online.

The seminar was introduced by Mrs Sigrid Schraml, Secretary General of EZA, with reminder why Life-Long Learning (LLL) is a priority in Europe after Covid-19 pandemic. Among the speakers were Ulrich Nordhaus (EZA expert from German Trade Union Federation DGB) pointing out that LLL is more than employability and one of the benefits of European solidarity; ELVYRA ACIENE (Klaipeda University, Honorary president of Association of Lithuanian Social Work Universities, Lithuania) with report on the role of andragogues in increasing the participation of adults in the labor market of Lithuania (LLL apsect); Agnieszka Piasecka-Robak (University of Lower Silesia, Wroclaw, Poland), Aimar Altosaar (President of “The Golden League” NGO, Estonia), Pēteris Krīgers (member of European Economic and Social Committee), Baiba Rivža (Vice-president of Latvian Academy of Sciences), Sarmīte Pīlāte (Director of Latvian Adult Education Association, Latvia). The seminar was hosted by Skaidrīte Gūtmane, Rector of Latvian Christian Academy.

The most important aspect of the seminar was:

  1. to raise awareness of the value of LLL and to inspire more people to discover how learning can positively change their employability especially because of the Covid-19 crisis.
    Sociological analysis shows that LLL in the Baltic States should be developed along the challenges of digitalization and vocational education expansion in new areas. The context of Covid-19 crisis, digital and economic changes added to the value of the seminar and therefore much more people attended.
  2. New strategy for education which doesn’t separate the object (LLL) from the subject (personality), therefore it was necessary to look at the LLL issue innovatively: in close collaboration between different providers – higher education, researchers, NGOs, vocational strategy educators, work-life organizations, trade unionists, technology suppliers. The seminar had important internationally focused analytical content regarding employability issues, modern forms of employment and increasing motivation and productivity.
  3. The seminar participants had an opportunity to attend on-line field-visit in the Latvian Adult Education Association and get acquainted with Non-Formal Education Methodologies in Adult Education.