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Green Thumbs Up: EARLALL Pilots the SMALEI Matrix


On 7 February 2024, the EARLALL secretariat piloted the work of  SMALEI – Sustainability Matrix for Adult Education Institutions.  The SMALEI project aims at improving the sustainability of ALE providers and organisations all over Europe and increasing their capacity to contribute to forward-looking (and sustainable) societal development.

As part of the work of the three-year project, set to end in March 2025, partners are testing the sustainability matrix (already available online). By considering the aspects and sub-aspects of the matrix, users will be able to assess their institution’s strengths and weaknesses in sustainability. In the EARLALL secretariat pilot, staff evaluated two areas of the SMALEI matrix: Environmental Sustainability of the Institution and Partnerships for Sustainability. Both areas were considered by evaluating the relevance of each of the sub-areas for EARLALL’s work and the current efforts in working towards greening these.

Taking stock of sustainability efforts

By ranking the relevance and how well the secretariat is performing in each of these sub-areas, followed by discussions on the choices everyone made, two main areas of improvement were identified. The first related to being explicit in EARLALL’s green mission. In the EARLALL Strategic Priorities 2023 – 2027, the organisation identifies Priority 1 “Working towards skills for the future at the regional level, through innovation in lifelong learning”. The priority references the need to reskill and upskill in the face of the green transition. Making this priority clearer in the mission statement of the organisation was highlighted as the first important action.

The secretariat also acknowledged the need to continue the network’s commitment to prioritising green projects and initiatives, such as SMALEI or SKYLA (Smart Specialisation Skills Ecosystems for the Twin Transition). Moreover, during the European Week of Regions 2023, EARLALL organised two events related to sustainability: a workshop on the role of micro-credentials in the green transition and a participatory lab on sustainability in regional adult learning systems. The network will seek to replicate the success of this week in the 2024 edition.

The EARLALL team agreed on the next steps and scheduled a meeting for June to discuss progress on the initiatives.

If you are interested in piloting the SMALEI Matrix in your institution, do not hesitate to contact us at smalei.eu.