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Date of print: 30/05/23

Lifelong Learning 2007-2009

Lifelong Learning

Lifelong Learning has been recognised as an essential element of the European Higher Education Area since the Ministers met in Prague in 2001. The Prague Communiqué signals that in a Europe built on a knowledge-based society and economy, lifelong learning strategies are necessary to face the challenges of competitiveness and the use of new technologies, and to improve social cohesion, equal opportunities and quality of life. 

Since then, there has been growing awareness of the need to embed lifelong learning within higher education, if we are to meet the challenges of the future. This includes the particular challenges arising from the changing demography of Europe. 

Increasingly, lifelong learning is seen as a cross cutting issue, inherent in all aspects of the Bologna Process. Ministers’ goals for lifelong learning will be substantially realised by:

  • improving the recognition of prior learning, including non formal and informal learning;
  • creating more flexible, student-centred modes of delivery;
  • and widening access to higher education. 
  • National qualifications frameworks are also an important tool in supporting lifelong learning.

The 2007 London Communiqué reports that some elements of flexible learning exist in most countries, but a more systematic development of flexible learning paths to support lifelong learning is at an early stage. Ministers have therefore asked the Bologna Follow-up Group to increase the sharing of good practice and work towards a common understanding of the role of higher education in lifelong learning.  Work should also continue to improve the recognition of prior learning.

Lifelong Learning Charter

At its autumn conference in Rotterdam, EUA officially presented the new European Universities’ Charter on Lifelong Learning. The Charter, developed at the request of the French Prime Minister François Fillon, is based around a series of 10 commitments made by universities in addressing the development and implementation of lifelong learning strategies, with a set of matching commitments proposed for governments and regional partners.

On 26 November 2008, EUA President Georg Winckler presented the Charter at an informal meeting of the Ministers in charge of Vocational Education and Training and the Ministers in charge of Higher Education in the context of the French Presidency of the European Union.

EUA European Universities' Charter on Lifelong Learning 2008

European University Continuing Education Network

Further background information on lifelong learning in the context of the European Higher Education Area can be found on the website of the European University Continuing Education Network (EUCEN).

Bologna Activites

Actions carried out in the Bologna work programme 2007-2009

Building on the first Bologna seminar on lifelong learning held in Prague in June 2003, three events will address different aspects of lifelong learning between now and the 2009 Ministerial conference.  Details are given below:

To ensure complementarity across the lifelong learning related events included in the Bologna Work Programme for 2007-2009 and to review the conclusions and recommendations of these events, a Lifelong Learning Coordinating Group was set up.

Content for Bologna Expert
Coordination Group on Lifelong Learning 2007-2009

The Coordination Group on Lifelong Learning will: ensure coordination across Bologna related events exploring aspects of lifelong learning, making recommendations...