LLL-FORUM in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria
7th April 2015
On the 27th of March 2015 more than 30 national policy-makers, practitioners and researchers participated in the first LLL-HUB Forum in Blagoevgrad, in order to develop policy recommendations for Lifelong Learning in Bulgaria. The Lifelong Learning Hub project, coordinated by EUCIS-LLL, brings together ten partners from eight European countries.
Vanya Tividosheva, one of the experts who participated, works for the labour confederation Podkrepa. She sums up her experience at the end of this first FORUM: “Among positive aspects of the FORUM, was the representation of participants. This FORUM gave opportunities for communication, discussions, joint work and consolidated common findings in the form of working groups which led to results at different levels of stakeholders representation – National authorities (Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Employment Agency), Regional Authorities (Regional Inspectorate of Education, Regional Employment Agency, District Administration), local authorities – Municipality of Blagoevgrad, social partners, schools, VET centres, carrier guidance providers, Universities. Participants actually represented almost all “actors” in the field of LLL as a “horizontal” dimension, on the one hand, and a “vertical” dimension covering different levels of policy making and policy implementation, on the other hand. This is an innovative approach of exchange of information and does not happen very often. Such an arrangement of different levels of representation and joint interaction during the working groups is very useful for evidence based policy making as a combination and synchronization of bottom up and top down approaches: the bottom up policy making was supported through the input made by attendees acting on a local and regional level and the top down approach was performed by the provision of most recent information on national developments by attendees representing national authorities.“
Discussions of the FORUM took place according to a Methodology which had been developed specifically by our project partner CVO Antwerpen with the help of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
After a general introduction experts discussed three broad topics in separate sessions: 1) National Frameworks for lifelong learning: towards flexible pathways and comprehensive education and training systems, 2) Lifelong learning actors: taking the jump towards learner-centred systems and 3) Lifelong learning communities: partnerships and shared responsibility. At the end of the day all experts came together to present their conclusions and policy recommendations.
The main outcomes of the discussions were the following:
- The national strategic documents and legislative basis in the field of LLL are in line with EU policy and frameworks.
- The process of planning of national LLL policy with Horizon 2020 was based on the analysis of the impact of the implementation of national LLL Strategy 2008-2013 which is a step forward to the development of evidence based policy, which should be further developed.
- Most of the actions for implementation of LLL policy at national level, covering a large number of representatives of the target groups, were funded by OP Human Resources Development.
- The realisation efforts of LLL policy at regional and local level are not sufficient, both with respect to translation of national objectives in regional and local ones and implementation of adequate actions for their achievement.
- The content of the National Report on the State of Play of Lifelong Learning adequately presents the situation in the country. The Recommendations defined in it correspond to the main challenges faced in the process of LLL policy development and implementation.