How to face the current economic challenges and inequalities?

The partner organisation AVITEUM, based in Prague / Czech Republic, hosted a seminar on 22nd June 2022 to present the learning platform and stimulate an exchange on economic challenges. The programme included these questions: How does the economy affect our lives? Do women and men have different positions in the labour market? What is feminist economics and how can it contribute to reducing inequalities? How can we inform ourselves about economic issues? What practical tools are available to us for this? Which ones are offered by the learning platform? Finally, how can we tackle the current economic challenges?

In this way, the Czech colleagues took up aspects that they had worked on themselves (Feminist Economics, Women’s Economic Empowerment). At the same time, they integrated questions on which colleagues from the partner organisations had developed courses and presented them to a broad audience for discussion.

Participants articulated a high appreciation for the thematic diversity that is evident through the learning platform. They also indicated that more educational materials were needed on how to use savings to avoid loss of value through inflation. Similarly, readiness to acquire digital skills and critical thinking should be promoted. It was also suggested to include the issue of gender equality in companies and also to claim for new calls through the ESF programme accordingly.

As the event showed, reflecting on economic challenges can set a lot in motion…


Socio-economic education on inequality and the climate crisis

Under this title, the Vienna University of Economics and Business invited to a public event at the Volkshochschule Wiener Urania on 14th June 2022 to introduce the learning platform to a wider public and to practise socio-economic education. Reference was given to the observation that the climate crisis challenges not only the way societies shape their economies, but also what and how we learn about the economies.

Thanks to the cooperation with the Adult Education Centre, adult educators, one of the target groups, were also present. They could get into the topic by getting to know the method of “economic speed dating” right at the beginning. What is behind this? Quite simple: When music is played, the participants move around the room (regardless of the number of participants). When the music stops, they start a conversation with the person standing next to them. The trainer asks the questions.

This interactive prelude was followed by a thematic impulse on “Sustainable Economies” and later on by two exercises, which in turn invited event visitors to “learning by participating”: One was a discussion on possible measures to reduce social and environmental inequality. The other involved “freewriting” about facets of a sustainable society. By this, the focus was not only on analysing problem areas. Ideas were also asked for and thus acknowledging that overcoming all the challenges is a (learning) task for society as a whole. Thus attuned to thinking about socio-economic issues, the learning platform was presented to the audience as the “culmination” of the evening.

Over snacks and drinks, the participants continued their discussions in smaller groups.

Not a mystery: Workshop on …

… basic socio-economic education in Lublin/Poland

Social inequality, ecology, climate, housing, health, gender justice, etc. – almost everything has an economic dimension. You don’t have to have a higher education to understand such connections. This is exactly the approach of our cooperation of colleagues from seven European countries. They met from 22nd to 26th February 2022 for a five-day workshop at the WSEI University in Lublin/Poland to discuss socio-economic topics and to test methods for Economic Literacy in adult education.

One session started with an “economic speed dating” about social inequality. What connection do the participants see between inequality and self-confidence, what connections between inequality and climate change or health? In a subsequent input could the colleagues learn definitions of inequality, aspects of the history of global inequality, today’s income and wealth inequality between countries, and more. The different ways in which societies contribute to CO2 emissions and thus to global warming were also discussed.

Then curiosity and intuition were asked for as participants explored the environment, considering these questions: “Where can you perceive inequality?”, “Who is the infrastructure (not) built for?”, “What role does money play?”, “Where around you might there be inequality that you cannot see?”.

The exchange about the explorations afterwards moved on to discussing measures to minimise inequality. After all, the division into rich and poor, healthy and non-healthy, impaired – non-impaired etc. is not just a moral problem that comes with humiliation for those affected. It is a macroeconomic problem that affects the whole society. Economies miss their potential and resources are wasted.

In the course of the week, a whole bouquet of topics and methods was gathered to develop educational materials for the common learning platform. The focus was also on issues of growth and sustainability, taxation, different schools of economics, migration, feminist economics and the further digitalisation of money.

After the experience of an online workshop in November 2020, the project group had opted for a hybrid event this time. Thus, participants from four partner organisations in Lublin and colleagues from Barcelona, Dublin and Tartu (Estonia) were present on screen. This enabled a much more intensive, inspiring learning experience.

Feedback from one participant: “Now I have an idea of a European cooperation. An ecxiting and very fruitful experience.