Highlights of the Lifelong Learning Week 2017

The 7th Lifelong Learning Week (LLL Week) took place in parallel and in collaboration with the 2nd European Vocational Skills Week (VET Week), 20-24th November 2017. This year the topic of the week was the topic of the year for Lifelong Learning Platform, EPA is an active member of: Education in a Digital World. Three subtopics were covered by the events as well as this year’s LLL Award: democracy, inclusion and innovative pedagogies. Thanks to the generous offer of the European Commission to host one representative of all EPA members on the occasion of the VET Week, the events could be held in the presence of the 5 EPA members that accepted the invitation.

The first event of the LLL Week was exploring the implications of the Social Pillar on education. Speakers from the European Student Union, the European Trade Union Confederation, Solidar and OBESSU were all highlighting the importance of the Social Pillar and underlined that the Gothenburg Summit just a few days before the event was a historical moment for officially making an EU commitment on it. However the speakers raised several issues around this commitment. There was an agreement among speakers that civil society has an important role in ensuring the Pillar serves people and we must closely follow developments of the detailed regulations related to the Pillar. The event had surprisingly few participants showing that the education community is yet to recognise the importance of this new EU commitment in their field.

Another highlight of the week was the meeting of the Erasmus+ Coalition in the presence of MEPs, the European Commission, the representative of the Estonian Presidency of the EU, national agencies and civil society. From EPA’s perspective it was important to see that while the European Commission is implementing a success communication strategy, the MEPs working on reporting on the current Erasmus+ programme and the preparations of the successor programme to be implemented from 2021 fully understand and endorse all issues raised by you, parents during the summer of 2017 when we conducted our Erasmus+ survey. There is an agreement that there is a need to fully rethink mobility granting that the European Commission and youth organisations are pushing for to make them available for everybody instead of the privileged few and relatively rich of today. There is a need to make Erasmus+ one programme, not 30+ of today, national agencies must follow one path in the future. There has been a lot of discussion around the need to simplify the programme and the absolute necessity to introduce a uniform procedure in all countries.

This LLL Week re-visited the topic of recognition and validation of non-formal learning. In line with the topic of the LLL Week, there was a presentation of online skills evaluation and recognition tools, mostly presented by youth organisations. The approach is important for low skilled adults to be able to (re-)enter the labour market, and in this respect EPA will continue to work on the validation and recognition of diverse skills acquired during parenting.

You will find a detailed report of the LLL Week on the LLL-P website soon.

Eszter Salamon


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