Lifelong learning

 

Lauritz Holm-Nielsen, University of Aarhus

 

Interest in lifelong learning has increased dramatically since the publication of groundbreaking reports from UNESCO and the OECD, which framed the phenomenon in the 1970s and 1980s. These reports raised awareness of a growing demand for lifelong learning opportunities and the need to continually improve the skills of the population of all ages in order to remain competitive. A recent study conducted by the German Bertelsmann Stiftung shows that Denmark is among the European leaders in regard to lifelong learning. Denmark has a long tradition of adult education reflected inter alia in a comprehensive system of ‘folk high schools’, private learning organizations, and university extension courses. Recently, the Danish government introduced a national lifelong learning strategy that promotes personal development, active citizenship and employability through training. Many European countries have unrealized potential for providing lifelong learning opportunities, notably at the tertiary education level. Recent OECD reviews of the Amsterdam and Rotterdam regions in the Netherlands highlight such challenges. The reviews point to opportunities for unleashing significant innovation potential by prioritizing investments in human capital and lifelong learning programmes. The presentation will discuss various models for lifelong learning policy drawing on findings from both Denmark and the Netherlands.