Under the coordination of the Norwegian Agency for Lifelong Learning (VOX), the European Basic Skills Network (EBSN) came together in their 2012 annual conference from 30 May to 1 June in Prague. Uniting research institutes and educational authorities from 25 countries in the European region, the main aim of EBSN is to exchange good practice and to support the European Commission’s “Renewed Agenda for Adult Learning”. UIL has been a member of EBSN since 2010.
The meeting in Prague was hosted by the Ministry of Education of the Czech Republic, and focused on the teachers and trainers of basic skills, with a particular focus on literacy teachers for immigrants and on numeracy teachers. Examples of useful materials and tools were presented, such as the Teacher Education Handbook developed by the National Research and Development Centre (NRDC) in the UK, or the “Train the Trainers” toolkit developed by the German Institute for Adult Education (DIE), or the European project “BASKET” (Professional Development of Basic Skills Trainers).
Network members agreed that it is necessary to raise more awareness for the need to enhance basic skills in Europe, both with a view to the policy of the European Commission as well as towards national governments. The network considers itself as a critical “lobbying” agent for this task. An Activity and Strategic Plan will be developed for 2013, which will focus on two main activities: the production of short concise policy recommendations on selected topics (“Briefer than Brief”), and the development of a capacity-building module for policy makers and practitioners (“Academy”) on the professional development of teachers and trainers in basic education. The next annual conference will be hosted by the Ministry of Education of Spain in Madrid in May/June 2013.