Annual Conference 2018
What does it take to have a culture shift in education? Embracing a lifelong learning culture? Partnering up to rethink education?
Facing the fourth industrial revolution requires a re-think of the different skills and competences we equip our citizens with; from universal thinking to social skills. In an increasingly globalised and interconnected world we can expect migratory flows that will require us to embrace cultural diversity on one side, and continuous learning on the other. This doesn’t apply to the younger generations only, as citizens of all ages are already facing these challenges. Hence, we need a comprehensive framework of key competences for lifelong learning informed with a holistic approach – across formal, non-formal and informal settings. If we want to ensure a better future of learning for all and truly “strengthen identity through Education and Culture”, our approach should be as innovative and inclusive as possible.
The Lifelong Learning Platform invites you to debate these topics around its Annual Conference “Lifelong Learning Culture: A partnership for rethinking education” on 5-6 July 2018 in Vienna, Austria.
The Conference will take place at the crossroads between the Bulgarian and Austrian Presidencies of the Council of the EU. Back in November 2017, the European Commission launched a new communication for “Strengthening European Identity through Education and Culture” ahead of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018. Later on, in January 2018, it released a new package for modernising education. This paves the way to a stronger EU-level cooperation in the field of education, training and lifelong learning contributing to a greater social Europe. However, its predominant focus on formal education systems urges LLLP to address the very fundamental issue of current policies lacking to reflect the 21st century learning environments.
Aligning with the UNESCO cornerstone publications, LLLP acknowledges that 21st century learning environments are diverse and numerous, and their characteristics change rapidly in the fast growing globalised economy. Europe is struggling to keep up to speed and – most importantly – undermines the role culture plays in such contexts. It is about time to recognise that culture – in the broadest sense – drives and defines all learning environments. It is the silent background that shapes the classroom, teaching and learning pathways, and teachers’ attitudes towards students; but it is also through culture that all learning environments are defined, including non-formal to informal settings.
Europe needs to place greater focus on its citizens’ transversal skills, as described in the Key Competences for Lifelong Learning, increase their employability, but also and especially make them socially included, fulfilled individuals and active citizens. And this requires better synergies between education and culture policies and strategies. Recognising cultural engagement as a crucial tool to widen access to education and to strengthen active citizenship is a first step.
However, skills and competences in Europe are only recognised within the context of formal education, and thus there still persists the need to make all learning visible and to validate skills acquired from other learning environments. The EU institutions, and the Communication on “A new skills agenda for Europe” in particular, are encouraging Member States to further develop, recognise and validate this particular set of skills, and hence renewed the interest in innovative methods of assessment. Most of these skills – communication, sense of initiative, “learning to learn”, social competences, and most of all cultural awareness – are best perceived in non-formal and informal settings, that by their own nature encourage creative practices. To address its implications in all learning environments is a challenge of great relevance for the current political agenda and for the lifelong learning stakeholders.
The overall purpose of the Annual Conference will be to dwell into the possibility that concrete and structured synergies between Education and Culture would bring to Lifelong Learning. Reaffirming the links between education and culture and hence revaluing this spectrum of transversal skills, for instance, opens up to the wider validation discussions. To this extent, one of the overarching goals of the conference is to discuss ways to make all learning environments important, to recognise the place of culture in doing so, all the while emphasising the need for validation and the role in fostering active citizenship.
During the Annual Conference, participants will be taken into the cultural context in which lifelong learning and education operate in Europe today. They will subsequently analyse the policy framework that is supposed to provide the tools useful to read our society. Different approaches can be deepened, as they all build up to the same overarching objective:
- Learning environments;
- Validation, recognition and accreditation of competences/learning;
- Holistic approaches to active citizenship/identity through education and culture,
All of these contribute to the goal that the Lifelong Learning Platform has always been pursuing: better societies through education and lifelong learning.