National Basic Skills Conference 20 November 2017

Context

As part of the finalization of the GOAL project in the Netherlands, a national closing event was held. The event took place in the form of a workshop during the national basic skills conference on 20 November 2017. This conference, which was organised in the margins of the EU Vocational Skills Week, brought together nearly 600 participants – representing a broad range of stakeholders in the field of adult learning and low literacy. Thereby, the conference constituted a great opportunity to organise a workshop on GOAL, and to share the findings and related policy advice with a wide audience.

Workshop

The GOAL workshop took place during one of the afternoon sessions of the conference and proved a great success. The session was moderated by Chérif Ait Abderrahman, regional coordinator of the Reading and Writing Foundation.

After a brief introduction, Jessica de Jong (project manager GOAL, Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science) gave a presentation on the GOAL project. She elaborated on the nature of the project, the project findings and key policy messages. In relation thereto, Harrie Mulder (counseller, PI Achterhoek) shared his experiences as one of the local partners in the project.

As the final national report states that in the Dutch approach to low literacy, cooperation in and between organisations is crucial, Anneke Jansen (language centre Zwolle) was invited to share her experience in this regard. In Zwolle, strong cooperation exists between the various stakeholders in the field of adult learning and low literacy, including the municipality, employers, social services and educational institutions.

Following the various presentations, participants were invited to proactively engage in two case studies linked to the key policy messages of the GOAL project. Each participant was assigned a specific role, on the basis of which they had to engage in the cases. Roles corresponded to the various stakeholders in adult education and low literacy, including the municipality, a social service, an employer, an educational institution, and a person with low literacy. Participants responded very positively to the interactive part of the workshop en felt themselves truly challenged in their thinking process.

The session ended with a Q&A session. Amongst others, the question was raised what the most relevant good practices from other partner countries in the project were. In response thereto, Jessica de Jong highlighted several examples, including the tools that have been developed in various partner countries.