Tag Archives: european parliament

LLLWeek18 – Lifelong Learning Culture in the European Parliament

The 8th edition of the Lifelong Learning Week took place in the European Parliament on 3-7 December 2018. It was a dense week of debates, discussions and reflections upon the LLLP’s theme of the year: Lifelong Learning Culture: A partnership for rethinking education.

The week kicked-off with a lively LLL Civil Society Forum in the splendid Fondation Universitaire. Civil society organisations active in education and training debated their own role vis-à-vis the latest EU policy, and their contribution to its development in the European Union. A joyful Reception concluded the evening, with the celebration of the LLLAwards winners’ outstanding practices (click here to meet them!).

On Tuesday, the Lifelong Learning Interest Group of the European Parliament welcomed EC Vice-President Jyrki Katainen as special guest. He address the way the MFF is set to fund education and reinforced the concept that the European Commission is committed to raising the funding and the standards of education in Europe, especially by investing in human capitals. MEP Jill Evans and MEP Emilian Pavel further built on this consideration to highlight the special role of European funding and programmes in the next MFF to tackle the most pressing issues in education and training (mobility, inclusion, employment, research, etc.).

Events followed closely and at fast pace. On the same day, the Quality of Childhood Working Group of the European Parliament met to discuss the teaching methods of Janusz Korczak. After this, the role of formal education systems to foster active citizenship and culture in the classroom was debated. Participants agreed that more should be done in this regards to exploit schools and universities’ potential and help foster European values in the classroom and in higher education.

The LLLPlatform is committed to give voice to all education actors and all learning environments: which is why on Wednesday, with WOSM and AEGEE, we debated the ways active citizenship is built in non-formal education environments. Initiatives addressed to youth were presented, and participants agreed that the next Erasmus+ should privilege mobility experiences as they prove to build the European spirit.

A dense Thursday explored firstly the contribution of education and lifelong learning to consumer education”. Stemming from a European Commission’s project Consumer Classroom, the LLLWeek showed how different actors – development organisations, students, teachers – can come together and help our society shape the conscious consumer of tomorrow. Even in such diverse subjects, a lifelong learning approach is capital to the achievement of EU’s objectives.

The LLLWeek went on to debate language learning and mobility programmes, and reaffirmed the importance of integrating formal education with non-formal and informal methods of learning when it comes to languages.

These aspects also come together in volunteering. The social impact of exchange students is still low, due to difficulties to identify oneself in the local community. But because of this, LLLP’s project Comanity suggested to introduce a new professional figure in the volunteering world: evidence shows that social inclusion cannot do without volunteering (more info here).

The topic of mobility periods abroad was also addressed in the final event of Summer University: the iconic AEGEE’s project celebrates its 30th anniversary, and has chosen the LLLWeek for its debate on short-mobility periods!

On the last day of the week, participants came together to discuss one of the most pressing issues in the employment world: career guidance. Is it possible to ensure guidance to all EU citizens? How can we adapt to the changing types of jobs? What does a career mean today? The answer lies in the development of sustainable skills, a (lifelong) learning approach to our own jobs, and the cooperation between different actors and stakeholders: from public to private to social partners and non-governmental organisations.  

A big shout out to all the organisers and all the participants for making the 8th edition of the LLLWeek a truly successful one!

Press release – Lifelong Learning Interest Group on “Investing in education and lifelong learning”

The third meeting of the Lifelong Learning Interest Group of the European Parliament in 2018 took place on 4 December as part of the 2018 Lifelong Learning Week. Organised by the Lifelong Learning Platform (LLLP) and the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA), the meeting gave the opportunity to Members of the European Parliament, representatives of civil society and stakeholders from all sectors of education and training to discuss the topic of Investing in education and lifelong learning – how can the next MFF support Europe’s learners?, together with Mr Jyrki Katainen, European Commission Vice President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness.

The focus of the meeting was on how the next EU Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) can be an opportunity to strengthen accessibility and quality in education, training and lifelong learning, through the flagship Erasmus+ programme, but also through synergies with other programmes with a  learning dimension such as Horizon Europe and the European Social Fund+ (ESF+). Speakers stressed the importance given to education in the Gothenburg Social Summit last November and the prospect of a European Education Area by 2025 as recognition of education’s crucial role in shaping the future of Europe.

MEP Jill Evans, shadow rapporteur for the CULT Committee’s report on Erasmus+, highlighted the importance of Erasmus+ in supporting the transition of young people from education to adulthood. She emphasised its impact on employability and the promotion of active citizenship, in particular participation in European elections. Confirming the ambition of tripling the budget, she underlined the need for the new programme to be more inclusive, supporting organisations working with marginalised groups. Regular review of financial support to meet the real needs of students, and support of language learning, including language minorities, were also key points.

MEP Emilian Pavel shared his confidence in a positive approach towards Erasmus+ in the EP, as evidenced by the almost unanimous vote on the EMPL Committee’s Opinion for which he is rapporteur. He said VET and lifelong learning should have a crucial role in the future programme and emphasised that not only Erasmus+, but also other programmes such as ESF+, should be strengthened. He recalled that lifelong learning is a priority of the European Pillar of Social Rights, which underpins the EP’s interim report on the next MFF.

Vice-President Katainen highlighted that the next MFF would have the highest ever share of investment in human capital, vital for enhancing people’s resilience in the face of rapid technological changes: “We need to build the resilience of individuals in society. But it is hard to imagine how to do that without improving the quality of education at all levels,” he underlined. In addition to the important role of Erasmus+, which he hopes in the next programme period will benefit more VET learners and teachers, he referred to the strong social investments that the proposed InvestEU programme will promote, as well as synergies between ESF+ and Erasmus+ for supporting disadvantaged groups. Such synergies are a priority: “I agree that breaking down silos between programmes and policy areas is of primary importance – this is crucial to ensure that they are harnessed in the best way to meet their objectives”, he stated.

Cooperation across sectors and programmes was also emphasised by Gina Ebner, President of LLLP and Secretary General of EAEA: “Learning throughout life requires more and more complex connections, as we take on different roles: citizens, consumers, parents, or volunteers,” said Ms Ebner, calling not only for a lifelong learning approach in Erasmus+, but also on linking different sectors to education, such as agriculture or health. Looking at the opportunities given by the MFF, she underlined that they could help with alleviating inequalities, reaching out to disadvantaged learners, promoting democracy and values, but also addressing inequalities within countries, and within the lifelong learning sector itself, where some sectors get more funding than others.

Overall, speakers and participants agreed on the value of investing in people through high-quality education, training and lifelong learning in order to reduce social inequalities, promote upskilling and tackle negative anti-democratic forces. A key message was that contacts between people and organisations and across various education sectors, made possible by Erasmus+ and other funding programmes, should be further supported in the next EU budget. LLLP and its members shall continue to advocate for this as the political negotiations continue.