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#4 - June 2011

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Here comes the fourth newsletter, with always more news from the literacy sector in Europe. .

A colorful pdf version is available here

Enjoy your summer holidays!

The Editorial Staff

 Eur-Alpha news

 Eur-Alpha is spreading

ACI- Associação Centro InterculturaCidade will be replacing our Portuguese partner ANOP ACI has a strong vision of adult education and the link that should be made between education, local development and interculturality.

ACI’s activities (culture, popular education, community development and development cooperation) aim at fostering civic participation and social entrepreneurship and promoting identities and diversity as a positive factor of local development.

Eur-Alpha also surrounds itself with strong associate members to deepen its reflection and reach a growing number of literacy actors.

Among those new associate members: NALA, an Irish association where the learners are involved in decisions, RaPAL, a British independent network of learners, teachers, managers and researchers in adult basic education and Kap Eupen, a training body for languages and literacy working in the German-speaking part of Belgium.

 Eur-Alpha, an exchange network that works

Eur-Alpha has for objective to foster meetings and exchange among the actors of the literacy sector in Europe. The soon-to-be opened centre in Zurich, inspired by the functioning of our Scottish partner is a concrete proof of the importance and need of such space of meeting. Indeed, this is through a Eur-alpha meeting that EB Zurich in Switzerland made contact with Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) [1]. Intrigued by the Scottish system, 4 Swiss observers carried out a study visit to LTS and to adult literacy and numeracy practice in Glasgow and West Dumbarton.

As a result of their visit, they have decided to set up a centre for basic competences in Zurich based on the Scottish Model. The Swiss practitioners identified some of the success factors of the "Scottish system” as follows:

  • A government holistic strategy
  • Local implementation and budget responsibility in the communities
  • Addressing the taboos
  • Networking and awareness of those who are in contact with potential learners
  • Resource-oriented rather than deficit-oriented: the needs of the students are the focus -Explicit use of topics of general interest or vocational training, in which implicitly Literacy-/Numeracy competences are promoted (eg photography course for young people)
  • Holistic approach and integration of Literacy, ESOL, Numeracy, ICT using the term "Literacies"
  • Current and planned use of the Web for learners, tutors / lecturers, managers, and as a means of networking (accessibility in remote areas)

 Eur-Alpha’s Agenda

  • 23-29 Octobre 2011: Tutors workshop in Mâcon

Organised by our french partner AEFTI, this workshop aims at selecting, testing, trying out and discovering pedagogical practices facilitating the learners’ self-determination. Original approaches, speakers from different European countries and spaces of exchange are at the centre of this workshop that promises to be very rich.

The detailed program and the application form are available on Eur-alpha’s website. Registration is still possible (beware that Grundtvig grant are not available anymore)

  • 24-30 Octobre 2011 : Learners workshop in Barcelona
  • 4-7 Decembre 2011 : Meeting of the working groups in Lisbon

 News from the partners

 « Literacies in place and time» -RaPAL

RaPAL, new associate member of Eur-Alpha, organise a conference from 14 until 16 July 2011 at University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.

Entitled “Literacies in place and time”, the conference is a skilful mix of academic lectures, interactive workshops and informal exchanges. Next to classical topics, some of the interactive workshop will address themes such as “ MMS texting and literacy”, “19th century attitudes to literacy” and” Spells and potions in local archives”.

Along with the working sessions, participants will have the opportunity to meet people from Norfolk’s Learning Cafés and take part in an evening treasure hunt and barbecue at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts.

More information on the RaPAL website.

 Literacy tools made by tutors for tutors - AEFTI

Federation AEFTI is a network of 9 AEFTI’s spread over the French territory.

The federation ensures the link between the local associations through meetings, exchanges, elaboration of teaching materials, sharing of tools and experience.

The “Tool box for writing” is a collection of training sessions to work with learners about the most frequent situations they meet in their daily life.

Those training sessions have been developed by qualified and experienced tutors for a public with a A1.1 level of French (following the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). The “tool box for writing” was developed to answer the needs of the practitioners to foster more autonomy and a real auto-determination among their learners.

In addition, AEFTI federation publishes two Journals: Savoirs et formations (Knowledge and Training) and Savoirs et formations-Recherches et Pratiques (Knowledge and Training-Research and Practices).

 Health Literacy Event

The Literacy Development Centre in Waterford Institute of Technology hosted a Health Literacy [2] breakfast seminar on May 26th.

The seminar was organised by a regional literacy network “Waterford Literacy Link” and aimed to bring together organisations and medical practitioners to raise awareness about Health Literacy and its importance to those working in the health care and medical fields.

The seminar included speakers from the Irish National Health Service Executive and the National Adult Literacy agency. It also included insights from literacy learners about their experiences accessing health services and the difficulties they encountered as well as views on health literacy from providers of health services.

Further details on the seminar and copies of presentations are available at or email Catherine Murphy at

From Left to Right: Lindsay O’Brien, Waterford Area Partnership; Cormac Johnston, Waterford Health Park; Sarah O’Brien, Health Service Executive; Helen Murphy, WIT; Joann Power, City of Waterford VEC; Michael Garland, Waterford Chamber of Commerce; Jennifer Lynch, NALA; Gayle Barry, Waterford Area Partnership; Michael Power, NALA; Michelle Gallagher, Waterford Traveller CDP.

 Changes in UIL

Mr. Arne Carlsen was appointed to succeed Adama Ouane as Director of the Unesco Institute for life-long learning (UIL) from 1st June 2011. He took the opportunity to address a message to the sector of adult education.

In what literacy concerns, he recalled that ”the Institute has a strong record of achievement in work in adult literacy in developing countries and was also the first to address “functional literacy” in industrialised countries. It has maintained this position to the current day. Furthermore, [The Institue] is extremely advantageously-placed to carry out research, and to gather and disseminate evidence and experience in its fields of expertise worldwide.

The new director concluded by calling us to remember that learning is a source of individual and collective fulfillment and a source of joy.

The complete message is available in English and in French on UIL web site.

On his part, Mr.Adama Ouane address a farewell message “In Hamburg we say “tschüss”” (EN) or “Tschüss”: C’est ce qu’on dit à Hambourg (FR).

June 2011 also marks the 60th Anniversary of the UIL.

  Learning and Teaching Scotland becomes “Education Scotland”

Since the 1st July 2011, LTS merged with Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education (HMIE) into a new executive agency known as Education Scotland. To know all about this new agency, go to

 News from the literacy sector

 Adult Literacies Practitioners Scotland (ALPS) – New Association to be launched this year

A steering group of practitioners is currently working to set up a new association for people working in adult literacies in Scotland.

The association aims to be an independent professional organisation which will represent the interests of the workers of the sector. As a group ALPS recognises discussion, reflection, inclusiveness, diversity and empowerment as fundamental tenets of literacies practice.

The proposed objectives of the new association are to: further the recognition of literacies as a distinct area of professional practice in a range of environments; promote the well-being of members; and safe guard the public interest in this field of work.

It is hoped to have set up a fully constituted association by the autumn of 2011.

 EBSN Annual Conference

The European Basic Skills Network (EBSN) has for objective to contribute to better policy and practice for the enhancement of basic skills in the European population. A lot of Eur-Alpha partners are also member of EBSN who, with its action at the political level, offers a different perspective.

EBSN hold its Annual Conference from 27 until 29 June 2011 in Vaduz, Liechtenstein about Working Skills.

More information on

  A world worth living in – ICAE World Assembly

“A world worth living in - Adult learning and education: a key to transformation”

From 14 until 17 June 2011, more than 700 participants from all over the world gathered in Malmö, Sweden for the 8th World Assembly of ICAE, the International Council for Adult Education.

The Assembly was co-hosted by a few Swedish folkbildning organizations and the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) that also held a general assembly.

The ICAE World Assembly is the main event that brings together adult educators and learners from around the world every four years, and it is a celebration of the importance of adult education for the construction of just and equitable societies.

A few Eur-Alpha members, notably Lire et Ecrire and DIE were there to support ICAE’s work and take part in the discussion.

The report, videos of plenary sessions, interviews and a lot more are available on

 Next newsletter

The next newsletter will be focused on the International literacy day (8 September). Present the events you organise to celebrate this day and tell us what is at stake in your country/region!

All announcements must be sent before 5 September to


[1] Learning and Teaching Scotland became Education Scotland on the first of July. More information on the new website

[2] Health literacy was defined during the seminar as "the capacity of individuals to obtain, process and understand the basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions" (Seldon, Zorn, Ratzan & Parker 2000)

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.

This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Education and Culture DG