Why a lifelong learning week?
Lifelong learning covers education and training across all ages and in all areas of life. It enables citizens’ emancipation and full participation in society in its civic, political, social and economic dimensions. A humanistic and holistic approach to learning, from the cradle to the grave, is of continued relevance in today’s world and a viable foundation for the rethinking of education. The Lifelong Learning Week aims to raise awareness of the fact that lifelong learning answers many challenges of modern societies. Fostering a comprehensive approach to education is especially important when it comes to building learning societies, by making sure that our citizens are fully equipped with the competences they need in the 21st century. The paradigm shift to lifelong learning means recognising that learning is taking place in various contexts – be it formal, non-formal or informal. It implies changing the ways we provide and receive education, the ways we assess learning and the ways we work and live together.
Why key competences?
Surfing the wave of a fast-paced and ever-changing reality, the European Commission has proclaimed 2023 the European Year of Skills. This decision comes from the need to address the mismatch between employment needs and education sectors but it reveals a vision that places education as a sparring partner of the labour market. Breathing new life in the recent Council Recommendations on Individual Learning Accounts and Micro-credentials, in the work on validation and recognition, and implicitly into the Updated Skills Agenda, the announcement reveals the danger of conflating learning, and the adaptation to fight any challenge of our current times, to labour market participation.
LLLP would like to stress that this risks overlooking the key competences citizens need for life. We hold that transversal competences, encompassing and not being only limited to skills for the labour market, are the way forward for Europe. Transversal competences can be used in a wide variety of situations in life and at work and represent the right mixture of knowledge, skills, and attitudes that ultimately make better, more active citizens that find fulfilment in their work and are able adapt to the fast-paced changes. Critical thinking, problem-solving, and digital literacy cut across sectors, fields, tasks, eras and lives. Transversal competences inexorably lead to rethinking validation and guidance processes: how to make those skills more explicit and embed the lessons learned in validation and guidance provisions is a crucial endeavour for the wider education community. LLLP will insist on giving equal visibility to all key competences acquired in non-formal and informal environments.
- System level: Successful policies for transversal competences for learning and resilient societies
- Provider level: Embedding transversal competences in formal, non-formal and informal learning environments
- Learner level: Acquiring necessary transversal competences for active participation through non-formal and informal learning and their validation and recognition
In fact, all of these will contribute to the goal that the Lifelong Learning Platform has always been pursuing: better societies through education and lifelong learning.