ASPBAE Study Exchange on Adult Education and Lifelong Learning

Leela KrugerI’ve had the opportunity to travel to the Philippines for the first study exchange organised by the Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education – http://www.aspbae.org). I have experienced life long learning in the Philippines but I have also learned from others and shared my experiences. It was my very first time travelling overseas.

13 different countries attended and we all work in adult education. I work for Waltja (www.waltja.org.au), and I was sponsored by Women in Adult and Vocational Education (www.wave.org.au).

During my stay so much happened! We had introductions and a Filipino welcome with beautiful flowers and we shared our hopes and fears of the study exchange. There were presentations from some of the participants from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Cambodia, Vanuatu and the Philippines. We travelled to lots of places.

The Philippines are located along the typhoon belt and Pacific Ring of Fire and they have about 20 typhoons every year! They have developed a community based disaster risk reduction and management program strengthening community members. The program is also disability inclusive. They learn it in the schools and in community centre as well and found that education is the answer.

We travelled to a small indigenous community. We had a warm welcome from the local elders who are on the board of the local school.  They did an introduction dance and sang in their language. We sat in a group and talked about education and culture in the Philippines.  I did a presentation about my work for Waltja in Central Australia.

The community cooked us a feast of fresh fish, local vegetables and rice and a nice hearty soup.  We sat down again in the group and the locals spoke about their culture. A lot of their cultural beliefs and values relate a lot to my culture and the local indigenous Aboriginal people in Australia.  I felt so at home in the community it reminded me a lot of home and the communities I work in.

As well as ASPBAE, I would like to thank everyone at my organisation I work for (Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi Aboriginal Corporation) for their support and a very special thank you to Elaine Butler and WAVE for giving me the opportunity to be part of the Study Exchange. This has been such a great learning experience for me to learn about life long learning education in the Philippines and learning from other Adult Education Practitioners from different countries in our region.

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