The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) has published a new report setting out a future-focused vision of education and demanding a major shift towards a culture of lifelong learning by 2050.
Embracing a culture of lifelong learning, UIL’s contribution to the UNESCO International Commission on the Futures of Education, argues that creating a global culture of lifelong learning will be key to addressing the challenges faced by humanity, from the climate crisis to technological and demographic change, not to mention those posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the inequalities it has exacerbated.
Drawing on the input of 12 distinguished experts from different disciplines and countries, the report reflects on the potential contribution of lifelong learning both in transforming the field of education and in creating a more sustainable, healthy and inclusive future, and presents a compelling vision for lifelong learning and the values and principles that must underpin it. It calls on the international community to see education as something with public as well as private value, and to recognize lifelong learning as a new human right.
UIL Director, David Atchoarena, explains:
“We are emerging from a period characterized by an excessive focus on the vocational and skills dimensions of lifelong learning. Recognizing the complexity and multi-dimensional nature of the challenges faced by humanity calls for the restoration of a holistic vision of learning throughout life”.
“As we anticipate further disruptions caused by the effects of climate change, demographic shifts and the substantial transformation in the labour market due to the fourth industrial revolution, lifelong learning will have to be moved further up the policy agenda, beyond the fields of education and labour market policies.”
The report outlines the main features of the ‘enabling environment’ needed to make lifelong learning the governing principle of education policy and to offer people opportunities to learn throughout life, whatever their background or context. It analyses the main issues that currently inhibit lifelong learning and describes what is needed to transform them into opportunities. Looking to the future, the report sets out 10 key messages, each critical for creating a culture of lifelong learning:
- Recognize the holistic character of lifelong learning
- Promote transdisciplinary research and intersectoral collaboration for lifelong learning
- Place vulnerable groups at the core of the lifelong learning agenda
- Establish lifelong learning as a common good
- Ensure greater and equitable access to learning technology
- Transform schools and universities into lifelong learning institutions
- Recognize and promote the collective dimension of learning
- Encourage and support local lifelong learning initiatives, including learning cities
- Reengineer and revitalize workplace learning
- Recognize lifelong learning as a human right
The report also offers specific action points for realizing this vision and suggests selected policy measures.
Learn More: Futures of Education