In this section four main areas of Lifelong learning are explained:
Lifelong learning – basic information
Lifelong learning in the 21st century
Key abilities for Lifelong learning
Lifelong learning and the Euopean Union
For quite some time now Lifelong learning has appeared in the social discourse. Over time it has become clear that the need for training doesn't end with primary, secondary or even higher education, but that this is just a preparation for a learning process that lasts all life. Society is increasingly moving towards a state in which everyone needs to have opportunities to gain new qualifications to use in the labour market or to improve key competencies necessary for success in their professional, civic and personal life.
Achieved degrees have long been regarded as a constant and something that qualifies a person at a certain level of education. But trends in the world and in Europe point towards a strong need for flexibility for workers, something which is achievable only for those who are willing and have enough opportunities and space for further education. This means that higher education has to be adapted to the fact that graduates no longer are “finished products”. Instead focus must lie on individual educational needs and and a dynamic adaptation to the needs and demands of employers.
Two important features of Lifelong learning in the 21st century are the principle of equal opportunities and the quality of learning. This includes learning from pre-school age to retirement, with the entire spectrum of formal, non-formal and informal education. Further, this type of learning includes all educational activities undertaken throughout life with the aim of improving knowledge, skills and qualifications in the personal, civic, social and professional spheres.
On the 18th December 2006 The European Parliament and European Council defined the basic abilities which describe the essential knowledge, skills and attitudes within Lifelong learning:
Communication in the mother tongue, i.e. the ability to express and interpret concepts, thoughts, feelings, facts and opinions in spoken and written form and in an appropriate and creative way to react to all situations of social and cultural life.
Communication in foreign languages, i.e. as the ability to communicate in ones mother tongue, including the need to understand different cultures.
Mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology, i.e. the ability to develop and apply mathematical thinking to solve problems in everyday situations, with an emphasis on process, activity and knowledge.
The ability to work with digital technology, i.e. the ability to confidently and critically use the technology of the information society, and the necessary basic skills within information and communication technology.
The ability to learn, i.e. the ability to pursue and organize one's own learning individually or in groups according to the needs, with an awareness of methods and opportunities.
Social and civic competence includes personal, interpersonal and intercultural competence and cover all forms of behavior that prepare individuals in an effective and constructive way for social and working life. It is closely linked to personal and social well-being. It is important to understand codes of conduct and manners in different environments. Civic skills, particularly knowledge of social and political concepts and structures (democracy, justice, equality, citizenship and civil rights) prepare individuals for active and democratic participation.
A Sense of initiative and entrepreneurship is the ability to turn ideas into action. It includes creativity, innovation and risk taking, and planning and managing projects in order to achieve certain goals. For individuals it means to grasp the context of their work and to be able to seize opportunities that arise. It is the base for more specific skills and knowledge needed by those establishing social or commercial activities. This should also include awareness of ethical values and promotion of good governance.
Cultural awareness and expression, which means recognition of the importance of creative expression of ideas, experiences and emotions in various forms (including music, performing arts, literature and visual arts).
These key skills are all interdependent, and each of these skills emphasises critical thinking, creativity, initiative, problem solving, risk assessment, decision making, and control of emotions.
The term "wildlife", which is frequently occuring in the contemborary debate, should be understood as learning across the breadth of life. It can be seen as an aspect that leads to formal, non-formal and informal learning complementing each other.
The aim of the European Union within the framework of Lifelong learning is to ensure:
the development of key skills with young people through initial education and training, making them ready for adult life, further learning and working life
fullfillment of the educational potential of young people who are disadvantaged in education (i.e. people who have dropped out of school, unemployed, people with disabilities, migrants, etc.)
an adequate system of further education and vocational training for adults
access to education, training and the labour market.
These key skills are divided into two groups: young people at the end of their compulsory education and training (to help them prepare for adult life, especially for working life, and to create a foundation for further education), and adults throughout their lives through developing and updating their skills.
The acquisition of these key competences is consistent with the principle of equality and access for all. This applies particularly to disadvantaged groups, whose educational potential requires support. Examples of such groups include people with low basic skills, people without completed basic education, unemployed, people with disabilities, migrants, etc.
Lifelong learning acknowledges the potential for further personal development and the ability to learn new things, according to the changing needs of society. It also strengthens the social cohesion of society, increases the adaptability of people, balances life opportunities, and limits the exclusion of disadvantaged groups on the margins of society, thereby contributing to its stability.
The web portal for Lifelong and further education serves as a gateway to the current programs and courses at Palacky University in Olomouc.