Lifelong learning

Lifelong learning

What is lifelong learning?

Lifelong learning begins in early childhood and continues throughout adult life through formal, non-formal and informal learning in all contexts, including family, school, workplace, neighbourhood and other communities. Widening access and increasing participation to education and training throughout life and enhancing the quality of learning are key components of the EU’s efforts to ensure sustainable economic growth and reinforce social cohesion.

The ETF’s campaign on lifelong learning highlights the EU’s policy initiatives and activities supporting lifelong learning and the support ETF is providing to our partner countries.

What is the EU policy basis?

The EU has set ambitious goals for the implementation of the European Education Area by 2025 including quality in education and training for the development of the key competences and lifelong learning. The Key Competences for Lifelong learning take account of major societal changes, such as digitalisation, with a focus on preparing citizens for changing labour markets and society. ‘Education, training and life-long learning’ is the first principle of the European Pillar of Social Rights whereby everyone has the right to quality and inclusive education, training and lifelong learning to maintain and acquire skills, which also links to the European Skills Agenda.

Specific Initiatives and Upskilling pathways  are in place supporting adult and migrant participation in lifelong learning, and reducing early school leaving for young people as part of the Youth Guarantee. In addition, Lifelong career guidance  is an important contributor to lifelong learning.

What is the ETF doing?

As part of the EU’s role as a global leader and within the EU’s external relations priorities the ETF provides support to partner countries helping them drive forward education and training reforms in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We undertake targeted studies and share knowledge from EU policies and practices to support reform measures through dedicated activities, such as addressing the key competences in the curricula. We contribute to international debate based on gathering thorough and comparable evidence on education and training systems across countries to benefit individuals, institutions and societies. The ETF works in partnerships with other international organisations, national authorities, the research community, digital platforms, social partners, civil society, and many others.

The issues raised in this campaign will be analysed further at an international conference organised by the ETF and UNESCO with the collaboration of EBRD and UNICEF, “Building lifelong learning systems: skills for green and inclusive societies in the digital era” which will be held online on 21-25 June 2021.