Sceptical but pragmatic



”I am afraid that it will be difficult to defend the free zone of non-formal adult education inside a system of qualifications frameworks, but the folk high schools cannot neglect it. We have to be pragmatic,” Lennart Fast says.

Lennart Fast is a teacher at Marieborgs folk high school in Norrköping, Sweden, primarily teaching unemployed workers. He is also a member of the national board of the folk high school teachers’ association.
Returning from the conference Lennart Fast more or less will have to introduce the discussion about qualifications frameworks among his colleagues.
“Until now we have not been involved in the process of developing the national qualifications framework in Sweden. But we did have some discussions on the board of the association,” he tells.

Life Quality

Lennart Fast and his board colleagues have some strong reservations towards the qualifications frameworks. He says:
“From the debates and the conference I learned that in many countries the frameworks are seen as an opportunity to get non-formal adult education recognized by other educational institutions, by employers and by the government.
I accept that but the situation in Sweden is different. We have a free zone for our values and learning methods that risk being narrowed by the frameworks.”
To Lennart Fast the term “bildning” is central. In German it is “Bildung”, but no proper English term exists.
“In “bildning” learning is much more than skills and qualificationss. It aims at developing the person as a whole. People should learn to develop themselves as individuals and for their own sake, not just for the labour market.
But I am afraid that it will be difficult to integrate personal development, improved life quality and social competencies in a national qualifications framework.”


Lennart Fast realizes that the establishing of national qualificationss frameworks is a fact that is not negotiable:
“We have to be pragmatic. We cannot neglect it. So it is better to involve ourselves in the work of creating a qualifications framework where the non-formal learning can be incorporated and still leaving room for our way of working,” he says while emphasizing:
“This is all a part of a worldwide conflict between capital and labour. Jobs disappear, and the employers want all educational resources aimed at the needs of the business.
In this situation we must defend the needs of the learners, and in my opinion there is a need to propagate the ideas of “bildning” to the rest of the world, not giving up on them back home.”