“Adult learning and education is a fertile ground, not only for the provision of skills, knowledge and competencies for sustainable development, but also to empower social transformation as a whole“.
The opening lines of EAEAs recent report on greening adult learning and education sets out a clear position: adult learning and education is a key policy tool to navigate a fair and equitable transition to a sustainable society. The report, however, offers a word of caution:
“Without taking this opportunity we lose the chance to build up a society of critical thinkers, collaborative doers and equipped citizens – paving the way into a shared sustainable future“.
A key hurdle to overcome being that most of the examples of “green” education are driven by and up-skilling and growth rhetoric – the intrinsic humanistic value of education often taking a back seat.
What is the problem with this? The report makes a valid point: the intrinsic value of education, and its transformative potential, is a fundamental component for realising a sustainable future. It is only through emancipatory education where the appearance of a natural order can be revealed as neither necessary nor inevitable – what was once deemed impossible suddenly seems attainable.
A sustainable society will not come to be through a top-down approach; people need to be afforded the capacity to envision an alternative world – adult learning and education offers one avenue for this to transpire.
EAEA’s report is an excellent guide to affirm and envision further what the future of adult learning can look like – and how it can support and compliment sustainability. Take a look at the report in full here.