The possibility of reconciling individual, local, and global perspectives in the field of older adult learning and education is the starting point for debate and can be an opportunity to (re)build knowledge in the scientific community, prioritizing the well-being of older people.
It is important to encourage reflection and the sharing of ideas, initiatives and proposals when faced with the unpredictability of the current reality, marked by global events that have a real impact on daily life. It is also interesting to question how the education and learning of older adults relates to the challenging effects of ageing, the causes and consequences of migration, human rights advocacy, climate change and sustainable development, the consequences of pandemics, advances in health sciences, and other events, perhaps unexpected, in order to better place ourselves in front of the answers found.
In this conference we want to know how education and lifelong learning is lived and organised, particularly for older people in these contexts, who face an active and effective citizenship, in social, family and individual life. We also want to know the forms of intervention that are mobilised, at an international level, and implemented in various national contexts, both in a line of continuity and innovation. We would also like to understand which methodological lines of research influence current and future theories and practices of adult education.
Individual perspectives relate to how the individual constructs his/her identity throughout life, sometimes with different positions and expectations. At the interface between the individual and the global we position local perspectives that, on a meso level, concretise general decisions in dialogue with older adult learners, adult educators, and other stakeholders, recognising their voices and reflecting their own local identities and idiosyncrasies. In the global perspectives we situate the analysis of the various cultural, political, geographical, religious, legal, social and ethical dimensions in the face of challenges that challenge humanity itself and the life of societies.
The concern with the education of older people is not recent, however, its relevance is currently recognized and highlighted in the public agenda on ageing, contributing to its consolidation as an area of knowledge (Schmidt-Hertha, Formosa, & Fragoso, 2019). The issues of educational leisure time occupation of older people are associated with the view of promoting well-being (Langlois et al., 2013), citizenship, participation and inclusion (González-Palau et al., 2014). They are understood as the expression of a right and, simultaneously, as a contribution to the development of communities. In this framework, individual development, well-being and social interaction are valued, but also the relationship that older people establish with the community in a dialogical way. In a projective approach, "today we are contemplating and implementing not only what adult learning is and should be, but also what it could become for individuals, groups and larger communities in the long run" (Nikolić, Bulajić, & Vieira, 2020, p. 9). Valuing the knowledge of adults and local knowledge, which characterizes the principle of endogeneity, is essential for the creation of educational opportunities for older people that have an impact on their lives, but also on the social context in which they are inserted, valuing what they can learn and, above all, what, from them, can be shared and (co)built to enrich their community.
We appeal to your participation, motivated by questions that disturb and challenge you. We welcome proposals that problematize and produce conceptual, methodological and investigative knowledge. In this sense, we put forward some questions for reflection:
Are older adults involved in education and learning in our communities? How does the education and learning of older adults participate in the consolidation of active citizenship? How do individuals position themselves in the face of changes resulting from lifelong learning? What are the contributions of education to the recognition and affirmation of differences and identities? How do local contexts and communities promote education and learning, in their multifaceted relationship with economic, environmental, social, religious, political, cultural and ethical components? How is the knowledge of older people incorporated in their communities? What are the global guidelines for the education and learning of older adults and adult educators? How are national differences balanced against international guidelines in the way education and lifelong learning are conceived? What are the current theoretical and research perspectives on older people's education and learning?