Increasing the participation of adults in lifelong learning activities up to 15% has been set by the European Union as a target in the frame of its Education and Training Strategy. However, discrepancies remain between EU Member States and regions. European lifelong learning and non-vocational adult education strategies are not sufficiently integrated, especially at the regional level, which limits the policy potential to respond to current structural challenges such as rising unemployment, socio-economic instability, social exclusion and the effects of COVID-19.
The COMORELP project (“Collaborative Monitoring of REgional Lifelong learning Policies”) builds on the existing collaboration framework among key regional actors in Europe, with the view to expanding the partnership and developing a transnational interregional Policy Lab (the COMORELP Policy Lab Platform). The Policy Lab will comprise educational and training organisations and networks and will aim to assist and encourage transnational exchange of know-how in the design development and evaluation of lifelong learning initiatives/approaches integrated within Lifelong Guidance (LLG). It focuses on the role of Lifelong Learning (LLL) to support regional innovation policies that are aimed at socially inclusive economic development with a particular attention to disadvantaged adult groups. The project will capitalise on the results of previous initiatives and EU Projects, developing a coherent conceptual and operational framework.
The concrete objectives of the project are the following:
- To conduct a longitudinal review of LLL policies in each participating region, including a multi-stakeholder self-assessment exercise;
- To review and synthesise existing contributions on regional lifelong learning and “Learning Regions” approaches to develop a new context-sensitive comparison/benchmarking platform/tool;
- To pilot a data collection approach to feed and validate the system among the pilot Partner Regions;
- To organise regional and European inter-regional Round Tables to exchange and reflect upon practices in the field of Lifelong Learning and lay the foundations for inter-regional cooperation and common LLL policies;
- To promote participation of new regions in the COMORELP Policy Lab Platform and to develop a sustainability action plan.
- To draw lessons from the process, both in terms of quality assurance and in terms of policy recommendations.
The target groups of COMORELP are practitioners, education and training providers and employment centres, as well as policy makers (regional and local administrations). Through the networking exercise, all the lifelong learning and lifelong guidance stakeholders (non-formal and informal learning providers, social partners, NGOs, cultural institutions, professional associations, etc) within each region will be identified and invited to participate in the Policy Lab.
The expected results, impact and longer-term benefits are to increase participants’ awareness of regional lifelong learning policies and increase their capacity to make comparisons to rebuild or reorganise their own policies by detecting deficiencies or gaining alternative perspective from other contributors such as stakeholders, other regions or policy makers. Existing data collected on the platform will be the starting point for further developments and extensions by the participants. The COMORELP Policy Lab Platform aims to evolve after the end of the project and build a broader community of users, coming from all other European and Third countries, stakeholders and regional bodies not originally involved in the project.