Virtual seminar on “Skills and Competencies”


ICAE Virtual seminar will start 3rd of April 2017.


Invitation to the ICAE Virtual seminar on Skills and Competencies

We are proud and happy to announce the ICAE Virtual seminar 2017 together with DVV International – on the topic of “Skills and Competencies”!

The virtual seminar is based on the publication of DVV international “Adult Education and Development Journal“ (which is published once a year in three languages and was launched in December 2015).

The objectives of the ICAE Virtual Seminar are:
– To promote a debate and dialogue on selected articles from the journal Adult Education and Development in order to go deeper and broaden in the analysis.
– To create a virtual space as an opportunity to reflect on the concept of skills and competences in Adult Education and Development in the current context sharing different regional visions and experiences.
– To connect global commitments with local practices, building bridges between local needs and the Post 2015 development agenda, the EFA goals, and CONFINTEA Belem Framework for Action.

The following articles of DVV International`s publication will be this years´ starting point of the seminar:
• The New Skills Agenda for Europe
By Dana Bachmann and Paul Holdsworth, European Commission
• Enhancing competencies in the Arab world: issues to be considered
By Rabab Tamish, Betlehem University, Palestine
• The 5 skills it takes to build another possible world – Learning from and for the World Social Forum
By Alessio Surian, University of Padova, Italy
• Soft skills in non-formal education: building capacities of the youth
By Priti Sharma, PRIA International Academy, New Delhi, India

You can find the articles here: (in English, French and Spanish).

The Virtual seminar will start on April 3rd and last approximately three weeks. It is free of charge and open to anyone!
Do you want to participate? Contact Ricarda Motschilnig at

Registration is open now and until the beginning of the seminar.
The virtual seminar runs via e-mail in English. Your contributions can be sent in English, French or Spanish and will then be translated into English.

Get involved!


One thought on “Virtual seminar on “Skills and Competencies”

  1. Virtual Seminar
    Skills and competences in a pluriversal world
    Timothy D. Ireland
    UNESCO Chair in Youth and Adult Education
    Federal University of Paraiba, Brazil.

    When I was younger, so much younger than today, Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World was almost obligatory reading. Despite being written in the 1930s, Brave New World continues to speak to a 21st-century world dominated by mass-entertainment, digital technology, medicine and pharmaceuticals, the arts of persuasion, and the hidden influence of elites. Somehow reading the article by Bachmann and Holdsworth on the New Skills Agenda for Europe I was reminded of Huxley’s futuristic world and at the same time found myself asking ‘more skills and competences, for what?’ Employability and prosperity – to “strengthen human capital, employability and competitiveness”? The new Skills Agenda highlights the role of skills as a pathway to employability and prosperity but we cannot talk about employability and prosperity in a vacuum. Implicit to this perspective is a specific conception of development. The positive agenda refers to prosperity and social cohesion but there is no mention of well-being, creativity, human fulfilment, good old-fashioned happiness, social justice, decent work and human dignity. And education is framed in the similar terms – skills, competences, competitiveness, digital skills, skills for the labour market, vocational education and training, skills formation. With that I went back to read the other contributions to the debate so far.
    The discussions and commentaries on the World Social Forum and the world we want have the advantage of questioning what is the world we want to live in and suggesting possible skills and competences necessary for building another possible world. However, what challenged and provoked me were the questions posed by Cristina Maria Coimbra Vieira and Rosa Maria Torres. Cristina Vieira discusses the new agenda from the Portuguese perspective. She raises several important questions, asking whether, for example, “The emphasis in economy seems to somehow silence the intrinsic needs and interests of workers as learning subjects, as well as their prior learning experiences” and stating that “Focusing the individual within a functionalist view – that suppose that ‘equip’ (sic) people with skills needed to respond to labour market changing requirements – is the best way to disclaim society responsibilities as a whole”. This more critical Portuguese perspective would perhaps be supported by Spanish and Greek commentators. Whilst written from an occidental perspective it does suggest that a one-size fits all recipe is not the best way of approaching the cultural diversity so fundamental to Europe.
    Rosa Maria Torres from Ecuador also asks the fundamental question “Learning for what?” And replies that “There are many ways to think and deal with this question. Well-being and prosperity mean different things to different people and cultures throughout the world”. She then points to the indigenous concept of Sumak Kawsay (Buen Vivir, Good Living), as an alternative to the current western development paradigm: alternative in the sense of being radically different and non-occidental. Indeed for Artur Escobar (apud GUDYNAS, 2011), the concept of buen vivir does not represent an alternative development but an alternative to development based on the cosmology of the indigenous people. Buen Vivir is concerned with achieving a harmonious relationship between self, others and the environment. Nature is deemed to have rights in the same way as human beings have. In Dávalos’ (2008) words it “incorporates nature into history (…) not as a productive factor nor as a productive force, but as an inherent part of social being”. The skills and competences necessary for achieving this relationship give a new meaning to education and learning.
    A second alternative paradigm which I consider worth mentioning places collective happiness and well-being as the goals of development resumed in the concept of the Index of Gross National Happiness, conceived in Bhutan. Whilst the concept of buen vivir is inspired by the cosmological vision and cultural values of the Andean indigenous people, the values which provide the foundation for the notion of collective happiness and well-being are profoundly rooted in the social traditions of Bhutan and in its ethical and moral cosmology developed and practiced for centuries. The GNH contributed to the creation of four strategic keys popularly known as the four pillars: (1) sustainable and equitable socioeconomic development; 2) preservation of the environment; 3) preservation and promotion of culture, and 4) promotion of good governance. Such pillars require skills and competences conducive to achieve this understanding of development.
    In this brief commentary, there is no space to attempt to situate this discussion within the context of the 2030 International Development Agenda except to say that the New Skills Agenda for Europe is probably well aligned with the agenda which the SDGs propose. From a non-European perspective, I suggest that it would be important to explore concepts such as diversity, multiculturality and intra-culturality and pluriversality when considering the relation between skills and competences and development.

    DAVALOS, Pablo. “Reflexiones sobre el Sumak Kawsay (El Buen Vivir) y las teorías del desarrollo”. Copyleft -Eutsi-Pagina de izquierda Antiautoritaria, n. 6, 2008.
    GUDYNAS, Eduardo. Buen vivir: Germinando alternativas al desarrollo. In: America Latina en movimiento, fevereiro 2011. p. 461-481.
    PRIESNER, Stefan. Gross National Happiness – Bhutan’s Vision of Development and its Challenges, 1999. Acesso em 27/12/2013.

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