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Life-Long Learners


As outlined in the Analytical Tool on development relevance/responsiveness, development contexts are in constant, rapid and sometimes unpredictable change. Development relevance therefore varies across geographic and temporal contexts and across diverse stakeholders. The complexity and fast pace of change require us to constantly adapt by rapidly acquiring new competencies that enable effective functioning across different contexts and different spheres of life. An individual will not be able to meet life challenges unless he or she becomes a lifelong learner, and societies will not be sustainable unless they become learning societies. Lifelong learning has been accepted by UNESCO Member States as the master concept and guiding principle towards a viable and sustainable future. The quality of education is not only determined by formal schooling, but also by continuous provision of learning opportunities in non-formal and informal settings (See: Perspective of life spheres).

A rich variety of formal, non-formal and informal learning opportunities reflecting the wide range of people’s talents and learning needs must be developed and made accessible to all. Social, demographic and economic factors combine to point to the need for more serious attention to be paid to youth and adult learning and education needs. Current developments require a constant update of competencies, not only with regard to the world of work but in an encompassing approach to participating in contemporary societies. Moreover, in recent years, international communities have made progress in developing the concept of ‘key competences’ for lifelong learning which include a combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes. [Link to Analytical Tool on Competencies].

The topics of ‘learner’ and ‘learning’ for the school-aged children are addressed substantially by other Analytical Tools of the GEQAF . Therefore this Analytical Tool focuses on the challenge of how to build and sustain capabilities and the culture of life-long learning and how to systematically provide opportunities and stimulate their uptake so that learning becomes an activity throughout people’s whole lifespan. The paramount question addressed through this analytical Tool [See Full Version] is: Does our education system develop capabilities for life-long learning and do we provide our citizens effective opportunities for learning throughout their life?

The Analytical Tool aims at facilitating an assessment of Lifelong Learning systems in place or being developed in each country and the environment for such learning by raising some key questions regarding policy and practice for supporting life-long learning. While the questions are not meant to be exhaustive, they will facilitate a systematic and structured identification of constraints to developing and sustaining life-long learners.

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