The Lifelong Learning Platform (LLLP) addresses forward-looking issues in the field of education and training on an annual basis. This year’s theme will be explored during different events and meetings at the crossroads between the Swedish and Spanish Presidencies of the Council of the EU, while ensuring that the 2023 Annual Theme is strongly related to the European Year of Skills:
Key competences for all: a lifelong learning approach to skills
Surfing the wave of a fast-paced and ever-changing reality, the European Commission has announced 2023 to be 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.
When modernising education and training systems, it is crucial to adopt a lifelong learning approach and introduce reforms in a holistic manner in order to build truly inclusive and sustainable learning societies. Equipping learners with the necessary transversal competences to navigate modern seas is a fundamental endeavour of all education sectors. As 20% of young people lack basic skills and only 11% of adults participate in lifelong learning, it is high time to shift focus away from the labour market and towards the Key Competences for Lifelong Learning and the European Framework for Personal, Social and Learning to Learn Key Competence.
Through this annual theme and related research, LLLP wishes to advocate for a shift towards a lifelong learning paradigm where supporting the individual’s potential is the key guiding principle and their learning path is not subdued to external needs but rather aims to equip them with transversal and universal competences. This means that individuals have the freedom to choose training of their choice, whether related to specific labour market needs or not; and that equal recognition and value for all types of learning environments (formal, non-formal, informal) is ensured as well as the possibility to move seamlessly between them (LLLP, 21st Century Learning Environments). All learning is valuable for a prosperous and just society.
- 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
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