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Developments: Territorial network for lifelong learning set up

The Italian government introduced a territorial network for lifelong learning (Reti Territoriali per l'Apprendimento Permanente), serving as the backbone of the Italian lifelong learning system. The networks connect the institutions and the providers that educate adults. They include the set of education, training and work services linked to strategies for economic growth, access to work for young people, welfare reform, active aging and active citizenship. However, the implementation of the networks has faced several complications because of a lack of cooperation among key adult education actors.

According to EAEA’s members, the situation of adult education has stayed the same in the last year in Italy, if you leave out the effects of the pandemic. Centro Internazionale per la Promozione dell'Educazione e lo Sviluppo (CEIPES) works mainly to provide education and training for youth and adults, while FORMA. Azione provides support in vocational education and training. In the last year CEIPES has grown exponentially and they were able to recruit additional internal staff and therewith, expand their number of projects. EAEA’s members are funded on different schemens and hence have been differently affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its financial consequences.

Innovation for the recovery phase

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly affected the adult education sector in general, including EAEA’s members. Many providers were able to continue with their training for the three months of lockdown during the covid pandemic as they moved activities online. Upon return to the office, CEIPES adjusted to the new precautionary regulations, with the ambition to carry out face-to face activities. Many organisations were financially affected by the pandemic, but CEIPES managed well and did not have to reduce staff.

According to EAEA’s members the recovery phase in Italy should prioritise employment and work, but also set a focus on adult education. Adults do not only need to adapt to a new world of work, but they also require technological skills, and the skills for their personal life. “Transversal skills” are needed as part of new learning systems, which supports adults not only to become more competitive at work but also to manage their personal lives by trying to create an environment more dedicated to well-being.

Italy striving for sustainable development

The European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) has been implemented in some areas, but neither of the responding organisations was involved in a consultation process. CEIPES believes that the EPSR plays an important role in promoting new national/regional policies and frameworks. Italy has implemented some policies on Upskilling Pathways and the Sustainable Development Goals.  

According to the Alleanza Italiana per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile ASviS (Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development), the last year demonstrated important movement towards sustainability across sectors: from civil society to the businesses, national government, regions and autonomous provinces. EAEA’s members mention, however, that the successful implementation is hindered by a lack of a clear and shared strategy for the Agenda 2030. The "Benessere Italia" (Wellness Italy) control booth, announced in May 2019 by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, was established "to coordinate, then to monitor, measure and improve the policies of all ministries in the name of the welfare of citizens.” The program includes a platform for Italian teachers to enroll in an e-learning course on the "Agenda 2030 and Objectives of Sustainable Development".