During the Lifelong Learning Platform General Assembly on 23-24 September 2021, the members voted in favour of welcoming a new member to the LLLP family: Diesis Network.
Diesis is one of the widest EU networks specialised in supporting social economy and social enterprise development covering 20 countries through major national federations and national support networks associating more than 90,000 organisations and 1.2 million workers. It does so through the implementation of knowledge-based activities, such as training, project design, consultancy and advisory services, technical assistance and research. Among their members, Diesis Network also represents VET providers, consortia in the fields of education, and other education providers promoting solidarity and sustainability in Europe through formal and non-formal education. The social economy is present across all sectors and employs 13.6 million people and accounts for 8% of the EU’s GDP. It covers a diversity of enterprises and organisations like cooperatives, mutuals, associations, foundations, social enterprises among other forms specific to each country. The defining threads running through the social economy are the shared values and features which unite them, for instance, they put people over profits, they are governed democratically, and they reinvest most profits.
Why did Diesis Network join LLLP? Because one of the key challenges for the social economy resides in education! Awareness and knowledge of the social economy and how it differs in both principle and practice to other strands of the economy are, for the most part, not widely unpacked in the field of education. From our birth, we are used to learning about employers being for-profit companies or the public sector but that puts a shadow on a large employment sector which is private by nature but whose goals are of collective interests, for the common good.
Economic studies and business schools usually disregard alternative economic forms and the curriculum shows little integration of social economy. In effect, this renders the very idea of economy as something unequivocal – and not open to contestation. Notwithstanding this, the 2008 economic crisis triggered a broad questioning of the flaws inherent to the current economic model, sparking a renewed interest for the sector, from young people mostly but not only – educational and learning settings should align with this. Policy-makers are also beginning to pay more attention. The Social Economy Action Plan by the new commissioner to be ready by the end of the year provides one example. Looking further, social entrepreneurship has become more popular and it requires new competences e.g. how to measure social impact – this is a topic that LLLP is increasingly interested in and would like to explore further in collaboration with Diesis Network.
Indeed, Diesis is also a network of education and training providers whose activities include training, exchange of good practices, and mutual learning in the EU. Their work on social inclusion working with gender issues, migrants, and disadvantaged youth through education is aligned with the vision of LLLP on inclusive and quality education for all and voices for a more Social Europe. LLLP is very happy to welcome Diesis Network and look forward to working closely together.
LLLP is very happy to welcome DIESIS and look forward to working closely together.
“We believe in building a learning culture, which removes competition and instead creates a space to collaborate within the community. This is what LLLP represents for us. Joining the LLLP means having a place where we can discuss and exchange experiences and competences with other actors in the educational field. Sharing knowledge is a common growth and the key for building a sustainable future for us all.”