Why an Annual Theme?
The Lifelong Learning Platform 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 French and Czech Presidencies of the Council of the EU, thus helping the transition and bridging with the outcomes of the Future of Europe Conference led by the French Presidency.
Investment in education and training: a public good for all
Investment in education and training remains, today, a broad theme and certainly a topical item on the EU’s agenda. LLLP wishes to approach the topic of investment from the standpoint of social inclusion – specifically in relation to closing the learning gaps amplified throughout the pandemic: how do we recover better? With the polar star of investment to bounce back, funding in education, training and lifelong learning opportunities should focus specifically on fair access, vulnerable groups and inclusion in representation. The latter is a crucial theme given the high interest in the EU and member states’ agendas on who is to fund lifelong learning: the answer to this question determines the crucial question of inclusion. This conversation started with the Finnish Presidency and the Council Resolution on financing education in 2019 and it continued with the Croatian Presidency who requested an opinion from the EESC on sustainable financing for lifelong learning in 2020.
The revision and launching of the new Skills Agenda introduced the idea of the Individual Learning Accounts. Following the health crisis, the EU launched the Recovery and Resilience facility where one of the main measures touches upon funding for upskilling and reskilling. Funding education and training is a recurrent issue that will continue to be high on the agenda for the years to come and which will be at the heart of the French Presidency too in 2022. The French Presidency plans to look at the right to lifelong learning and what instruments are to finance it. The pandemic questioned the funding of education and training and its impact on rising inequalities which will continue to be shown in the years to come. The new European Parliament initiative on the European Education Alliances is calling for an Education Investment Plan under the CoFoE. Social partners such as ETUCE are also using the CoFoE to call for lifelong learning opportunities for all and its respective funding. These are a few of the many initiatives under which this issue can be addressed.
Strengthening the role of public funding for education means, conversely, that education stays a public good for all. Therefore, “who” or rather “what instruments” finance lifelong learning are not questions to be taken for granted, as they entail cascade effects on the structures, pedagogies, objectives, curricula, inclusion and representation in education and training. Such an assumption should therefore not be taken for granted; the Lifelong Learning Platform will seek to explore its many facets during the year to come, with the usual support of its members and of the European institutions.
- Public good until what point? Public financing at risk
- Commodification of learning and the human capital: serving markets and not learners
- Education that empowers the already empowered: supporting inclusion
This theme will inform most of LLLP activities for the year: from the brand new LLLab to the LLLWeek, from the annual position paper to its desk research, from an advocacy campaign in investment in lifelong learning to the Lifelong Learning Interest Group. Stay tuned for more!