Ana Krajnc

Ana Krajnc

Hall of Fame Class of 2019

Ana Krajnc represents a seminal generation of scholars in andragogy. She has been the “Grand Dame” of andragogy and adult education for over half a century in the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia, Southeast Europe, and internationally, and played a central role in developing andragogy as an independent field within adult education science and practice.

Her 1967 international comparative study Education of Adults, Social Mobility and Social Participation consolidated the development of adult education. She was one of the first scholars to study marginalized target groups, such as prisoners, older people, and women, and she has greatly contributed to the development of educational gerontology and social practices of older adult education, advocating for older people’s competencies, as well as their right to education, intergenerational learning, and cooperation. Her research was a breakthrough centered on adult motivation through life stages.

In 1970, at the University of Ljubljana, then part of Yugoslavia, she founded the “cathedra of andragogy,” the first andragogy academic program in Southeastern Europe. She wrote standard textbooks and invited visiting lecturers and professors to Ljubljana. The program introduced students to theoretical, organizational, and practical issues in adult education and encouraged participation in doctoral and international research projects.

Krajnc actively promotes the concept of the “silver economy,” how older people are not merely consumers, but also promoters, innovators, and co-creators of socioeconomic development, while striving to overcome social stereotypes about the powerlessness and frailty of older people. She has raised awareness among politicians, experts, and the general public about how the silver economy relates to active aging. As such, she consults the Slovenian government and the European Federation of Older People (EURAG).

She created the “Slovenian Summer School for Adult Educators” and invited international lecturers in a model uniting participatory action research, community education, local development, and public campaigning based on the analyzed needs of inhabitants and local authorities.

Krajnc co-founded the Slovenian Third Age University in 1984, which has grown into a network of 54 local universities with 12,000 older students. She has been the president of the university since 2008.

In 1995, she founded Andragoška spoznanja (Studies in Adult Education and Learning), the first Slovenian scholarly journal for adult education, which has since become an international academic journal. She was the editor-in-chief of the journal until 2013.

In 2015, Krajnc established the Dyslexia Institute as part of Slovenian Third Age University for children and adults with specific learning difficulties related to dyslexia. The Institute assists people with dyslexia and raises public awareness of dyslexia.

Krajnc was a board member of the Inter­national Council for Adult Education from 1975-97, a member of the executive committee of the International Congress of University Adult Education, the international adult education group at UNESCO, the International Society for Comparative Adult Education, and served as president of the Andragogic Association of Yugoslavia from 1980–82. She also served as a representative to the International Council for Adult Education at the United Nations in Vienna in 1989-90.