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Lifelong learning in Europe

Lifelong learning in Europe: Equity and efficiency in the balance

Sheila Riddell
Jörg Markowitsch
Elisabet Weedon
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  • Book Info
    Lifelong learning in Europe
    Book Description:

    The ongoing economic crisis raises fundamental questions about the political and social goals of the European Union, particularly the feasibility of harmonising social and education policy across member states. The forward momentum of the European project is clearly faltering, raising the possibility that the high water mark of European integration has been achieved, with implications for many aspects of education and social policy, including lifelong learning. This timely book makes a major and original contribution to the development of knowledge and understanding of lifelong learning in an expanded Europe. Its wide range of contributors look at the contribution of lifelong learning to economic growth and social cohesion across Europe, focusing its challenge to social exclusion. It draws on comparative data from the EU Sixth Framework Project Lifelong Learning Policy and Practice in Europe (LLL2010), which ran from 2005 - 2011 and involved twelve European countries and Russia. Very little research has been conducted to date on the nature of lifelong learning in post-Soviet countries, and this book provides important insights into their evolving education and lifelong learning systems. The book will be of interest to researchers and academics in the UK and Europe, especially those from social policy, adult and comparative education, equality studies and practice of lifelong learning.

    eISBN: 978-1-4473-0014-4
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

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  1. List of figures, tables and case studies
    (pp. iv-vi)
  2. List of contributors, by country, to the EU Sixth Framework Project ‘Towards a Lifelong Learning Society in Europe: The Contribution of the Education System’ (LLL2010)
    (pp. x-xii)
  3. ONE Lifelong learning and the generation of human and social capital
    (pp. 1-16)
    Sheila Riddell and Elisabet Weedon

    This book takes a retrospective and prospective look at the contribution of lifelong learning to economic growth and social cohesion across Europe. It draws on comparative data from the EU Sixth Framework Project ‘Towards a Lifelong Learning Society in Europe: The Contribution of the Education System’ (LLL2010), which ran from 2005 to 2011 and involved 12 European countries and Russia. The countries participating in the project allowed for contrasts to be drawn between the experiences of old member states located in Northern and Western Europe and new member states in Central and Eastern Europe. Throughout the book there is a...

  4. TWO Lifelong learning and the wider European socioeconomic context
    (pp. 17-38)
    Sheila Riddell and Elisabet Weedon

    The aim of this chapter is to examine the relationship between lifelong learning systems and the wider socioeconomic context in which they are located at national and European levels. We describe the growth of economic inequality across much of Europe, which has coincided with the emergence of the knowledge economy. As demonstrated by Wilkinson (1996), Wilkinson and Pickett (2009) and Green and Janmaat (2011), countries with higher levels of inequality are much more prone to a range of problems associated with loss of trust and weak social cohesion. Education and lifelong learning are often charged with ameliorating these problems, but...

  5. THREE Neoliberal and inclusive themes in European lifelong learning policy
    (pp. 39-62)
    John Holford and Vida A. Mohorčič Špolar

    When lifelong learning emerged as a key theme of educational policy in the 1990s, international organisations played a decisive role. Some, particularly the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), had a ‘track record’: in the 1970s UNESCO had enthused about ‘lifelong education’ (Faure et al, 1972), the OECD about ‘recurrent education’ (OECD 1973). In contrast, the European Union had no such pedigree. Although the Council of Europe had advocated ‘permanent education’ as early as 1966 (Council of Europe, 1970), the EU itself¹ had been silent. Yet, as Field (2006)...

  6. FOUR Formal adult education in the spotlight: profiles, motivations and experiences of participants in 12 European countries
    (pp. 63-86)
    Ellen Boeren, Ides Nicaise, KU Leuven Eve-Liis Roosmaa and Ellu Saar

    According to EU policy documents, lifelong learning serves the following four purposes: enhancing or maintaining employability, promoting personal development, fostering social cohesion and developing active citizenship (European Commission, 2010). It is generally believed that — nowadays and in contrast to the humanistic approach of the Faure report in the 1970s — labour market requirements such as employability account for more than 80% of all learning activities, and lifelong learning is therefore often discussed in terms of ‘human resource development in drag’ (Boshier, 1998;see also Chapter Three). Whereas this may apply to learning as a whole, we find that the reasons for participation...

  7. FIVE The sociodemographic obstacles to participating in lifelong learning across Europe
    (pp. 87-102)
    Péter Róbert

    This chapter analyses the barriers that potential participants in lifelong learning face when they consider returning to education. There are considerable differences between people in relation to the extent to which they participate in learning after their initial compulsory education. Some engage in learning to improve their opportunities in the labour market, while others do it for personal fulfilment or for social and civic reasons. Some people do not re-enter the education system after their experience of initial education. As mentioned in Chapter One, the need for ongoing engagement in education has become a central focus for policymakers through the...

  8. SIX The qualification-providing enterprise? Support for formal adult education in small and medium-sized enterprises
    (pp. 103-124)
    Günter Hefler and Jörg Markowitsch

    Various fields of research deal with formal adult education, but it does not feature prominently in the literature on company training, human resource development (HRD) or adult education. Particularly in countries such as Austria, with strong occupational labour markets, it is expected that formal education will have been completedbeforeentering the world of work. In other countries, such as the UK, although an applicant would be expected to have the basic qualifications necessary for the job, undertaking additional qualifications while in post is common.

    This chapter seeks to make two contributions. First, we investigate whether formal adult education occupies...

  9. SEVEN Reducing or reinforcing inequality: assessing the impact of European policy on widening access to higher education
    (pp. 125-150)
    Elisabet Weedon and Sheila Riddell

    During the post-war period across Europe, higher education was only available to a small proportion of the population, with an over-representation of men and those from socially advantaged backgrounds. As Europe has sought to transform itself over the last decade into ‘the most competitive and dynamic knowledge based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion’ (CEC, 2000), the importance of higher education has been increasingly recognised. Workers in knowledge economy occupations clearly require higher levels of education, so, from the 1990s onwards, human capital logic suggested that there were...

  10. EIGHT Conclusion: the role of lifelong learning in reducing social inequality at a time of economic crisis
    (pp. 151-162)
    Sheila Riddell

    The LLL2010 project began in 2005 during a period of social optimism, following the expansion of the EU and a decade of sustained economic growth. Lifelong learning was regarded as having important economic and social benefits in terms of producing a flexible workforce, supporting social mobility and stimulating personal growth and development. The LLL2010 project had a particular focus on exploring the extent to which lifelong learning could contribute to social inclusion, as countries struggled to adjust to the challenges of globalisation, the shifting of economic power to East Asia and, latterly, the threatened collapse of the European Union itself....

  11. Technical annex to Chapter Four
    (pp. 163-169)
  12. Glossary of terms and abbreviations
    (pp. 170-174)