The task of the recently appointed Danish committee on liberal adult education (Folkeoplysningsudvalg) is to support and make visible the significance of liberal adult education to democracy and citizenship in education and in the work of associations. According to Per Paludan Hansen, Chairman of the Board of the Danish Adult Education Association, the past few years have not been easy for the Danish liberal adult education sector, but now there is light at the end of the tunnel. Norway is one step ahead in this respect: following a Norwegian report, a proposal for a new law on non-formal learning has been drafted. The new law is welcomed, but there is some apprehension as to the results of the changes.
In Sweden, the Swedish Adult Education Association draws parallels to Obama’s town hall meetings by focusing on dialogue as the most crucial precondition of development. Dialogue between the state and civil society, as well as integration-promoting dialogue between individuals, gives study associations new opportunities and new tasks, says General Secretary Maicen Ekman.
An Icelandic conference has recently resulted in a pioneering pact between formal and non-formal education providers. The goal is to improve the competence of employees in the Icelandic tourist industry, which today has a very large proportion of staff with no professional qualifications. This is good news for education providers and for tourism in Iceland.
This issue of DialogWeb presents some of the non-formal learning opportunities available in the Åland Islands and the Faroe Islands, respectively. In the Faroe Islands, the study associations appear to be slumbering sweetly, while in Åland, the most extensive and exciting activities in this sector are organised under the auspices of the Nordic Institute in Åland, which is presented in the article.
On top of everything else, this issue’s Finnish article presents a study that documents the beneficial effects of liberal adult education on the individual and society.
The external conditions affecting non-formal learning in the Nordic region seem to be changing for the better, and documentation of its positive effects is gaining visibility. In other words, spring is looking bright.
I hope you enjoy this issue!