Work programme 2009-2012
Seminar on Lifelong Learning
EURASHE organised a Seminar on Lifelong Learning (LLL) titled ‘Lifelong Learning at Professional Higher Education Institutions: New Learners, New Approaches‘ in Bled (Slovenia) on 15-16 October 2009. It is organised by EURASHE and the Association of Slovene Higher Vocational Colleges (ASHVC).
EURASHE has in the past few years set up annual seminars specifically devoted to lifelong learning, in which we focused on the different ‘stakeholders’. The Bled seminar on lifelong learning, is now laying the focus on the ‘new learner’, after dealing with the higher education institutions as providers, the employers and the more traditional learners in our previous seminars. This focus on the ‘new learner’ fits into our longstanding commitment to lifelong learning, even before it became part of the official ‘Bologna’ agenda. It is to be explained by an attention for the socio-economic background of the untraditional learner for whom (higher) education is either an economic necessity or a means for advancement in society.
With ‘Bologna’ and the link to the Lisbon Agenda the attention for new groups of learners has become even more stringent. The Communiqué of the Bologna Ministers gathering in Leuven on 23 April this year put a more than usual focus on lifelong learning and explicitly linked it to the social dimension, through widening access, and as an integrated part of the higher education reform. “Widening participation shall also be achieved through lifelong learning as an integral part of our education systems. Lifelong learning is subject to the principle of public responsibility.
The accessibility, quality of provision and transparency of information shall be assured. Lifelong learning involves obtaining qualifications, extending knowledge and understanding, gaining new skills and competences or enriching personal growth” (The Bologna process 2020 – The Leuven Communiqué, 2009). In the Leuven Communiqué, lifelong learning was identified as one of the higher education priorities for the coming decade, and it therefore should be one of the key areas for a stocktaking of the implementation of the Bologna reform in higher education institutions, along with other aspects like the social dimension, mobility, employability of graduates, etc.