Freitag, 2. September 2011

Law-Related Education: Project Summary

Law-related education aims to improve the ability of adult learners to understand and apply elements of law that affect everyday life as well as raising awareness of fundamental rights as core social and civic entitlements. Knowledge of rights and legal issues empowers individuals and communities to participate in the democratic process, get access to public services and demand their fundamental rights. Moreover, law-related education programmes have a strong potential to re-engage adults in education by enabling them to take more control over their lives and their careers.

This partnership brings together seven adult education organisations from seven European countries, which are engaged in law-related adult education with diverse learner communities. We will exchange knowledge, best practices, staff and learners, assess our experiences and strategies in designing, delivering and evaluating law-related adult education practices. Among the approaches we will share are innovative low-threshold courses for better access to public services, empowerment of victims of domestic violence, law-related simulations as an educational tool and dissemination strategies to build these skills among diverse groups of adult learners.

We will identify concrete law-related education practices with a potential for European transfer and aim to share and implement them in our own communities. We will publish them as a digital success-story-book, and disseminate them through our learners, partners and umbrella organisations. We will give priority to practices built on participation of diverse learners from vulnerable social groups and marginal social contexts to ensure that the form and content of our future law-related education initiatives meet the specific needs of diverse adult learner groups.

The partner organisations are highly motivated to join forces, because law-related education is a core issue of our work. Although working in different countries and contexts, and with diverse target groups, we all face similar challenges and we aim to
a) increase the "legal literacy" (the knowledge of rights and legal issues) of adult learners as a core social and civic skill, and
b) improve the quality and accessability of our adult education activities in the field of law-related education.

Recent European research in the field of law-related education and wider access to justice issues has highlighted significant gaps in the ability of Europeans to understand their rights and the processes they can access to gain redress. Low levels of knowledge, skills and confidence in dealing with law-related issues have a disproportionate impact on disadvantaged groups and can result in entrenched social exclusion and increased risk of rights violations and discrimination.

Evidence also suggests a lack of coordinated support and knowledge-sharing on effective mechanisms to improve learning and information that encompasses the full range of capabilities that individuals need to demand fundamental rights, especially the needs of vulnerable and minority groups.

By sharing knowledge, experiences and best practices in this field, the partners will build on the expertise they have gained in the past through working with learners to improve levels of rights based knowledge, skills and confidence. We also seek to improve cooperation across the EU to improve the ability of organisations to tackle rights-based cross-border issues which affect the ability of Europeans to participate in democratic processes and become involved in the decisions that affect them.

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