Feasibility Study on a «European Institute on Lifelong Learning (EILL)»

European Civil Society Platform on Lifelong Learning (EUCIS-LLL) Feasibility Study on a «European Institute on Lifelong Learning (EILL)» Paper written by Antonio MOCCI, independent researcher, on behalf of EUCIS-LLL March 2011

2 The European Civil Society Platform on Lifelong Learning (EUCIS-LLL) brings together 20 European networks working in education and training. Together, they cover all sectors of education and training including networks for higher education, vocational education and training, adult education and popular education; networks for students, school heads, parents, HRD professionals, teachers and trainers. EUCIS-LLL was created with the purpose of involving the different actors as much as possible in the dynamics of discussing and implementing the policies and actions of the European Union. It acts as a resource centre and a space for knowledge exchange, facilitating cooperation between institutions and civil society organisations. It wishes to offer the possibility for the European citizen s voice to be heard on educational issues and, drawing on the expertise of the networks that make up the platform, to bring concrete solutions for potential ways in which the decisions made by the European Institutions can be implemented. It is in a unique position to support European networks in education and training to work collectively at all levels and to contribute to a structured policy dialogue within the open method of coordination in education and training (Education and Training 2020). Such dialogue is essential for the future development of an EU that is closer to its citizens. EUCIS-LLL showed a specific need to capitalise on the activities, reflections and contributions it has produced in recent years on the issue of lifelong learning and on its implementation in the European Union. To satisfy this need, on behalf of the platform, a study on the feasibility of setting up a European Institute of Lifelong Learning was produced by an independent expert in cooperation with the EUCIS-LLL working group on the sustainability of lifelong learning. EUCIS-LLL benefits from the financial support of the European Union under the Lifelong Learning Programme. The content of this publication is the sole responsibility of EUCIS-LLL and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union. Contact EUCIS-LLL Secretariat 25 rue d Arlon - 1050 Bruxelles - Belgium info@eucis-lll.eu - www.eucis-lll.eu EUCIS-LLL 2011 Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged. 2

3 TABLE OF CONTENTS 4 6 12 15 22 24 24 26 28 32 34 Executive Summary Introduction 1. The present situation related to policy providers in the field of lifelong learning 2. EILL positioning: complementarity with CEDEFOP and other LLL-related organisations 3. The implementation of the EILL: areas to be covered, target groups and themes to deal with 4. Structuring the EILL: modalities of interaction and ways to organise activities. Three scenarios. First scenario: a balanced online and face-to-face approach Second scenario: a knowledge portal to dialogue with citizens Third scenario: a council of European LLL key actors Table 2: SWOT grid on the three scenarios Annex: Policy providers in the field of lifelong learning 3

4 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The introduction provides a brief analysis of the whole concept of lifelong learning. The investigation brings out several focal points that are equally important to consider in the lifelong learning implementation process. Some of them are widely dealt with in European policies aiming to make the EU the most competitive knowledge-based economy in the world, for example, learning to support individuals capacity to enter the labour market and keep an occupation; learning to support the collective capacity of organisations to remain competitive and to improve the quality of working. Other points are underrepresented in the overall debate: the support that learning offers to the informed, conscious and discriminating choices that underpin democracy or the effects that informal learning might have on developing human identity and potential. As a result, one starting point in setting up the institute is the intention to fill the knowledge gaps related to the underrepresented topics referring to lifelong learning. The first section, Policy providers in the field of lifelong learning, focuses on EUCIS-LLL members as policy providers on lifelong learning. It investigates members visions, missions and concerns, in order to gain an in-depth understanding of their interests related to learning. Three areas or clusters of interests were identified: first, some members are involved in specific topics related to the EU as a knowledge-based society and economy. Second, all members carry out specific activities related to their individual mission: different topics identify their interests. Finally, EU policies and frameworks for implementing lifelong learning are of great concern for platform members. The second section, EILL positioning: complementarity with CEDEFOP and other lifelong learning related organisations, answers the question: what is the European Institute for Lifelong Learning for? By analysing some of the well-known institutes, networks and agencies operating in the field of learning (such as CEDEFOP, ILO, CRELL or ELLI), this section underlines the differences between them and the EILL. Eventually, it positions the EILL as the voice of civil society on lifelong learning and its implementation. Therefore, the EILL s mission is to participate in the creation of the knowledge society and support individual and collective emancipation and well-being through the development of lifelong learning. The institute s general objective is to investigate lifelong learning policies, strategies, systems and practices and to cooperate with existing LLL organisations at local, national, European and international level. The third section, The implementation of the EILL: areas to be covered, target groups, themes to deal with, makes proposals on the topics and thematic areas that the institute should focus on. Six areas are identified: three are content-related (contribution to wellbeing, quality of learning, perspectives of lifelong learning) while three are focused on the functional aspects of the EILL (terminology of lifelong learning, filling gaps, good practice sharing). For each area, this section proposes topics, target groups, possible outputs and ways of addressing targets. 4

5 Finally, the fourth section, Structuring the EILL: modalities of interaction and ways to organise activities, proposes three scenarios for the implementation of the EILL. The first one envisages a balanced structure that combines online interaction and activities aimed at coming face to face with policy makers and implementers. Through the organisation of events combined with online discussion, the editorial staff promotes interaction with stakeholders and researchers, producing quality outputs and services for EUCIS-LLL members, institutions and for citizens. The second proposal plans a knowledge portal to dialogue with citizens. The structure is a flexible knowledge environment that is open to a potentially large number of users. Operating online, the institute is a virtual place in which civil society can express itself directly to EU institutions and citizens. The last proposal envisages a council of European lifelong learning key actors. The goal is to establish links and relations with partners (institutional or practitioners) that work and operate in different fields of lifelong learning to build a clearing house that offers free knowledge and inspiration from Europe s motivated thinkers. The EILL is a community, operating online, welcoming people from any discipline and culture with the aim of gaining a better understanding of how lifelong learning works and can improve anybody s life. The three proposals are not mutually exclusive, on the contrary, they could be considered as three phases of the same process. 5

6 INTRODUCTION 6 The overall purpose of this document is to present the results of a study on the feasibility of a European Institute on Lifelong Learning and on the different options for its implementation. The approach chosen to writing it is very practical and concrete, as it contains operative proposals for the institute s implementation. But, before we go into the proposal in detail, it might be useful to say a few words on why LLL implementation is such a challenging and interesting process to consider. In most countries of the globalised world, citizens, institutions, researchers and policy makers have come to recognise that lifelong learning is crucial, not only for competition and employability, but also for each individual s integration into society, quality of life and personal development. This recognition is also the result of a long lasting process of analysing the ways for living better, actively participating and satisfactorily working in our continuously changing societies. Lifelong learning is at the same time a conceptualisation that encompasses different areas of living such as relating to others, self-fulfilment, economy and work, and a political project. Among the different analyses produced and circulated on lifelong learning, one of the most comprehensive is the theoretical framework developed by UNESCO s International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century under the leadership of Jacques Delors. Its report Learning: The Treasure Within, published in 1996 identified four pillars of lifelong learning: learning to know, learning to do, learning to live together and learning to be. In other words, the report included not only formal, but also non-formal and informal forms of learning under the umbrella of lifelong learning. This approach has made it possible to consider areas that have received inadequate empirical attention in the past, without losing sight of how different kinds of learning complement one another. Let us consider in a more detailed way the four pillars: Learning to know Learning to know involves the development of the skills and knowledge required to meet the demands of everyday life, including reading, writing, critical thinking and a general education. A broad general education provides the foundation needed for exploring a smaller number of disciplines in more detail. In a sense, this also involves learning how to learn, to be able to benefit from the opportunities offered by lifelong learning. Learning to do Learning to do refers to the acquisition of skills that can be applied in practice. In many cases this means professional qualifications, such as IT training, management seminars and vocational education. It also includes competences that can be transferred to new, often unforeseeable situations. Learning to live together Learning to live together involves the development of qualities such as respect and empathy, as well as social and interpersonal skills. Here the aim is to develop an intercultural and

7 intergenerational understanding of other people and their history, traditions and spiritual values, so that joint efforts can be made to resolve conflicts peacefully. Learning to be Learning to be refers to activities that develop each individual s physical, mental and spiritual growth. This means developing good judgment, independence and a sense of responsibility. Every aspect of each individual s potential must be cultivated to that end. As is evident, LLL implies several focal points with no single one in particular being more important than the others. Looking at this in more detail, we can identify the following: Learning reinforces the informed, conscious, and discriminating choices that underpin democracy 1. Learning is a powerful source of sustainable development. Learning to learn is the most fundamental learning of all. Learning is the key to developing human identity and potential. Society, and the communities that make up society, survives, adapts and thrives through developing and sharing learning. Regular and rigorous use of learning processes increases everyone s capacity to contribute to the success of organisations by challenging, reshaping and meeting its goals. Learning expands the horizons of who we are and what we can become. Learning can occur in several ways: formal, non-formal, informal. Learning develops individuals capacity to enter the labour market and to keep an occupation even in the transition from one job to another. Learning develops the collective capacity of organisations to remain competitive and to improve the quality of working. The definition of a concept of lifelong learning has greatly benefited from the reflections from UNESCO that have been reported in the previous pages. European states, and specifically the European Union, have for a long time shaped their concept of LLL to go side by side with the definition of other components of the European society, such as the European social model or the economic model. To enter into greater detail, in the strategic visions of the European Union (Luxemburg 1997, Lisbon 2000, Copenhagen 2002 ), the EU should become a dynamic economy and society based on knowledge, that is a society able to express creativity, to produce innovation, to create new knowledge and to manage existing knowledge in a flexible way. Within this context, lifelong learning plays a pivotal role. The EU Commission defined it as: all learning activity undertaken throughout life, which results in improving knowledge, knowhow, skills, competences and/or qualifications for personal, social and/or professional reasons (CEDEFOP, 2004). 7

8 This definition is broad enough to cover many aspects of learning and working over a lifetime. In the society and economy of knowledge, human capital development and lifelong learning are the basis for access to employment, personal realisation, social inclusion and the use of his/her own rights. The key competences for lifelong learning that have been identified in EU policies (learning to learn, communication in the mother tongue and in other languages, basic maths and science skills, digital skills, social and civic skills, entrepreneurship, cultural and intercultural self awareness) are at the same time competences for citizenship. Citizenship is meant to be active; in other words it is based on the people s impulse in creating a society of well-being that is right and cohesive, and that promotes responsible and autonomous participation in social, economical and democratic life. Work is the quintessential dimension for contributing to common well-being, for integration and social inclusion, self-realisation and protection against poverty and exclusion. Within this context, lifelong and life-wide learning, realised in many different ways (formal, non-formal, informal), are viewed as a pillar for a new welfare model which, like citizenship, is active and aims at promoting in citizens the capacity to protect themselves from social risks. This welfare model considers employment as the best form of individual tutelage and the lever for escaping from the eventual condition of disadvantage. Training, retraining and updating skills are the strong points of new employment policies, the so called activation policies, which are interlaced with social policies and aim at two, mutually dependent, finalities: - improve individuals employability and their position in a labour market that is mobile, uncertain and continuously evolving; - avoid the risk that individuals are trapped in unemployment, inactivity, with a need for continuous assistance or in unstable, low paid, unsafe jobs. The active welfare state is an active and dynamic social state, which aims at empowering the capacity of choice, action and participation within EU citizens. Not only is this welfare state active; it is also activating with reference to persons who are expected to think autonomously about their needs. The basic axis of this conception is represented by the already mentioned activation policies, which aim to achieve a mix between the traditional passive policies for supporting income, and active policies relating to work which integrate tax, employment, social and learning policies. Terminology and basic principles have deeply penetrated the political debate of European countries, although there has been some criticism surrounding that vision, which has been considered to be too focused on economy and labour. But it is evident that the conceptual uniformity, although strongly conditioning, does not necessarily produce uniform answers. In fact, the design of the general framework can influence national realities, but the presence of an open space for the definition of solutions gives rise to diversified scenarios in the move from design to institutional choices. As stated, the transformation and evolution of the European society takes place within the context of the advent of the knowledge economy (KE), i.e. the economy based on knowledge and on information technologies. The KE improves living and working conditions; 8

9 KE makes knowledge the engine of cognitive capitalism which, as opposed to industrial capitalism, does not generate value by producing goods and services, but by transforming thoughts, emotions and identities. On the other hand, KE may create a new barrier between those who have knowledge, can access to it and develop it, and those who are excluded from it, producing disparities related to a cognitive divide. If inclusion and active citizenship processes are based on the access to information and if development, competitive advantage and economic value are increasingly dependent on knowledge and competence, it is evident that there is a need for participation in learning processes, through which one can access accumulated knowledge and generate new knowledge. Two typologies of capital have been considered as the real richness of Europe: human and social capital. Human capital recognises that human resources, in particular literacy rates and education, general health and life expectancy, create conditions for well being that enable social groups to transform their human capital into greater prosperity. Social capital is again related to human well-being but on a social, rather than an individual level, through the social and institutional networks (including for example, partnerships and associations) which support effective social action. This includes social trust, norms and networks, and political and legal systems, which support social cohesion. Ever since the Delors EC Commission Presidency, training has been indicated as a tool for developing human and social capital and for securing social inclusion. Both the European Strategy for Employment (Luxembourg 1997) and the Strategy for Growth and Employment (Lisbon 2000) stated the need to empower active policies and indicated training as a powerful lever in improving people s employability by retraining workers expelled from the labour market, by preventing employees professional competencies from becoming obsolete, to support working careers that are fragmented and uncertain. In the European vision training becomes a new form of employment protection which should guarantee the opportunity to have the chance to keep a job or to find a new one. So, it is not only work that guarantees citizenship but it is training that becomes its maker, promoting insertion and permanence in a transitional market characterised by changes between different jobs and also between employment and unemployment. Within the European vision and strategy, training becomes a citizenship right that accompanies the person in the changing phases of his/her professional life. The right to education has been part of the rights of citizenship ever since the European Community was founded; what is new is that the European vision places learning at the crossroads of employment, work and social policies. On the other hand, education and training are given broader finalities, they are not merely linked to the development of employability, and its re-definition is placed in the context of lifelong learning. LLL, in fact, is expected to support the active participation of citizens in all spheres of life, even beyond work, thus promoting the use of citizens own rights, especially civic and political. The inclusion of training in lifelong learning broadens its finalities: it represents for people the possibility to verify, update and continuously develop their competence system in favour of both improving employability and actively participating in the knowledge society. Referring to training policies, insertion in the LLL area produces rationalisation and integration between all kinds of learning, based on the acquisition of 9

10 competences (knowledge, skills, competencies) able to promote personal achievement, social inclusion, active citizenship, employment. Extensively, lifelong learning can develop both the capability for work and the capability for voice 2, helping people to acquire knowledge, competences and also the awareness and power needed to transform the resources available into behaviour strategies in order to make meaningful choices. LLL can thus effectively be a real occasion for empowering people because active participation, in the different situations in which it may occur, is also formed by the endowment of knowledge, skills and competencies aiming to empower individuals capabilities in understanding reality and using it in a responsible, autonomous, active and aware role. According to some analysts (including the Nobel Prize winner for Economics Amartya Sen 3 ), the link existing between human capital and capability is very close since the first amplifies the freedom to choose what is valuable in a responsible way (because human capital increases people capacity to communicate, discuss, use thought and imagination and to participate in democratic processes), while capability (which is actually a combination of different capabilities: for work, for voice, for employment, for a valuable work/life balance), allow for the possibility of an authentic human realisation. 10 From the reflections above, it seems evident that the link and the interaction between education, training, learning and work cannot be considered in a deterministic way. The well known phenomena of work mismatches and skill shortages are there to say that it is not enough to promote a general increase in qualifications to gain an automatic solution to employment problems. Reasons for this are clear: on one side, education and training do not stop at creating new jobs (if ever, it may improve demand-offer matching). On the other side, education and training can neither guarantee against unemployment nor assure the desired job. Moreover, neither education nor training are a guarantee for equity, since they are affected by social dynamics linked to differences between persons and, above all, to inequalities between individuals (related to both the access to opportunities and to personal characteristics, including competences). A number of pieces of research and analyses show that even investing in formal education is conditioned by the social rank the person belongs to and by the cultural, social and economical capital of the family and by the characteristics of the person rather than by his/her capacity or interests. OECD and EUROSTAT have noticed at several points that the lessons learned in childhood acquire value during a lifetime and are more effective than the policies aiming to reduce the cognitive divide aimed at the adult population 4. In fact, lifelong learning (LLL) tends to catch the training demand of those who already have good human capital, thus amplifying differences rather than reducing them. LLL does not always succeed in reducing inequalities that are determined during initial education and training. But, on the other hand, lifelong learning has value in itself, since, when and where it is successful, it may create a positive effect not only on its direct beneficiaries, but on new generations as well, contributing to a change in their parents disposition to invest in the human capital of their children. It is important and worth the effort to analyse the conditions under which, within the context of active welfare, lifelong learning may permanently create opportunities to reduce the cognitive gap and to develop new competences, aiming to answer multiple functions: democracy empowerment, employment and protection,

11 activation and participation, employability and capability. To sum up, the implementation of LLL in Europe is a great challenge aiming at the improvement of the whole society. It is a complex process that is worth caring about for the empowerment of EU citizens. EUCIS-LLL showed a specific need to capitalise on the activities, reflections and contributions that the civil society platform has produced in recent years on the issue of lifelong learning implementation in the European Union. This paper has been conceived to help satisfy this need. The study general objective is to analyse how EUCIS-LLL can be the base for a European Institute of Lifelong Learning more effectively, carrying out activities to promote LLL, to cooperate with all stakeholders, to compare and coordinate policies at EU and national level. This research report is divided into the following four parts: the first is about the characteristics of the LLL policy providers involved in the LLL platform. This section considers areas of action/interest and possible contributions from partners (see also Annex). The second part is about the positioning of EILL, in comparison to other organisations active in the area of LLL. It contains a proposal for the mission of the institute. The third part is about the areas of content that should be covered by the EILL. It also indicates the target groups that could be addressed by the institute, the possible outputs to be produced and the ways to address target groups. The final part contains three proposals for the structure of the EILL and examples of operative ways to work and function. Notes: 1. Paulo Freire, a Brazilian educator of adults, reported one of the most famous examples of democracy empowerment. In his country, citizens were able to vote at national elections only if they were able to read. That is why he worked with illiterate adults so as to let them play an emancipated role as citizens. 2. In the capability approach theorised by Amartya Sen, the capability for voice is the capacity of expression that allows the person to actively participate in public contexts (e.g. a company, a political reality, a social service). 3. Sen A. K., Human capital and human capability, in World development, 1997, n. 12, pp. 1959-1961. 4. See EUROSTAT, European Social Statistics, Data 1997-2005, 2008, and OECD, Education at a glance, 2006. 11

12 1. The present situation related to policy providers in the field of lifelong learning The considerations contained in the introduction of this paper underlined some of the critical aspects in the scenario for the lifelong learning implementation within the context of the European active welfare. As is evident, such a process is multi-level, complex and involves a vast number of actors all with different responsibilities and interests. This complexity is probably one of the causes that determine the fragmentation and incompleteness of the information available on LLL implementation. Currently, there is no general data available in this area and the information that institutional actors (such as the EU Commission, EUROSTAT, CEDEFOP, etc.) provide cannot produce a complete picture of it. As an example, quantitative data on qualifications and educational attainment are available, but information on EU citizens access to learning (especially informal) or on the role of LLL in empowering citizens active capacity in the European society is absolutely scarce. In addition to this, it must be noted that the LLL scenario sees the activity of a great many institutions and organisations. Besides the public institutions in Member States that are responsible for the implementation of LLL (that sometimes are not that easy to identify) there are many organisations from the social partners, education and training providers and institutions, the business community, the social economy, the networks. These families, as we may call them, have differences in opinions, interests, views and policy implementation. On the other hand, they share the conviction that LLL may contribute to creating a more cohesive and right society. In order to ease the balance and promote mutual cooperation between the several families there is first the need to identify the relevant policymakers and key actors, covering aspects related to adult learning and to formal, nonformal and informal learning. So, first of all, it seems useful to consider these families and the potential contribution they might give to the EILL. The focus is on EUCIS-LLL platform members, as they are the bodies that will implement the institute. In Annex 1, for each organisation, the main interests and potential contributions have been analysed, based on the information contained in their web sites, on their missions and visions. The result of analysis on interests is as follows. First, there are a certain number of topics that are related to the overarching concepts referring to the European society as a knowledge-based society. Amongst these we may mention: Active citizenship; Peace and stability, democracy; Social cohesion and reduction of inequalities; Diversity; Tackling discrimination; Cultural exchange; Learning as a right of human beings, access to learning; 12

13 Formal, non-formal and informal learning; Sustainable development; Education as a way to spread and share values. This group of topics clusters around social and political elements that are considered preconditions for the European society. The analysis reveals that there is homogeneous consensus among the EUCIS-LLL platform members on these issues that are so relevant for the conceiving and implementing of the EU society and of its lifelong learning system as well. Distinctions are only a matter of emphasis on specific components (that may be pivotal for single members vision and mission) but there is no big difference as for substance. A second group of topics is related to the specific activity of platform members. Amongst these we may mention: Primary and secondary education; Higher education; After and extra school education; Extra curricular education; Negotiated curricula; Innovative teaching; (Early) language learning; Parents education; School leadership; Educational environment; LLL at university level; History education; E-learning; Environmental learning; Work-based training; Adult education; Youth education; Sport as a means for learning; Regional dimension for learning; City dimension for learning; Intermediate education; International cooperation; Intergenerational learning. 13

14 It is evident that the above topics are biased according to the members characteristics, their interests, visions and missions. Although here differences between members are strong, this plurality may be considered as a sign of richness for the EILL, which may in principle consider a vast number of LLL-related issues. The third group of topics is about those LLL issues that may be linked to EU policies in implementing LLL. Amongst these we may mention: Basic skills; Mobility of learners and workers; Early school drop-outs; Learning for employability; Transparency of qualifications and certification; Quality in education and training; Personalisation of learning; Link to the business community; Teacher empowerment, training the trainers; Up-skilling of workers; Skill shortage; EU frameworks (EQF, ECVET, ECTS, EQARF, etc.); Personal development; New skills for new jobs and new skills for new societies; Equity, access to education; Integration of migrants; Social cohesion; Health and food; Legal underpinning to learning; Professional development. This group of topics clusters around issues that are transversal to many platform members. In addition to this, topics fit well into several policies of the European Union aiming at reinforcing active welfare and at implementing the lifelong learning system. This third group collects many topics in which partners interests overlap and that may represent areas for fruitful interaction. 14

15 2. EILL positioning: complementarity with CEDEFOP and other related organisations This section is a very important and delicate part of the analysis, logically connected to the three other ones. It is about the mission that is proposed for the EILL; in other words, it is about the positioning of the institute with regard to its activities and referring to other organisations dealing with LLL. It should be remembered that other bodies, mostly belonging to international organisations, operate in the education and training sector, or are active in the labour and social-related areas. As a consequence, there should be no duplication between the EILL and the already existing bodies operating in the lifelong learning sector; the proposed scenario deals with the specific characteristics of the EILL that distinguish its activity from the one of other organisations and may make its contributions original, thus securing useful complementarity with existing LLL-related bodies and institutions. But before we concern ourselves with the EILL s position, it seems better to say a few words on what competitor organisations are and do. CEDEFOP CEDEFOP is the European agency for promoting the development of vocational education and training (VET) in the European Union. To ensure economic and social development it is essential that vocational education and training meet the needs of the citizen, the labour market and society. Building on a rich tradition of VET systems in Europe, governments and social partners devise policies for modern and innovative VET, which is a key element for employment, social inclusion and the competitiveness of the EU. CEDEFOP is the centre of expertise for supporting the development of VET and evidence based policymaking. It provides advice, research, analysis, information and stimulates European cooperation and common learning. Its networks allow the centre to keep abreast of recent developments and to cooperate and share information. CEDEFOP works closely with the European Commission, governments, representatives of employers and trade unions, as well as with researchers and practitioners. It provides them with up-to-date information on developments, experience and innovation in VET, and forums for policy debate. CEDEFOP shares its expertise through electronic and hard copy publications, conferences and working groups. CEDEFOP actively supports the development of lifelong learning strategies at European and national level. It monitors and reviews trends and policy developments related to lifelong guidance, validation of non-formal and informal learning, VET teachers and trainers, ageing workers and adult learning. It formulates proposals for policy-making and promotes knowledge-sharing and exchange of practices in education and vocational training. CEDEFOP deals mainly with the following thematic areas: adult learning, ageing workers, lifelong guidance, validation of non-formal and informal learning, VET teachers and trainers. The European Training Foundation - ETF The European Training Foundation is an agency of the European Union based in Turin, Italy. It was established in 1990 to contribute to the development of the education and training systems of the EU s partner countries. It currently employs approximately 130 persons. 15

16 ETF s mission is to help transitioning and developing countries to harness the potential of their human capital through the reform of education, training and labour market systems in the context of the EU s external relations policy. As an instrument of the EU s external relations policy, ETF bases its work on the conviction that human capital development in a lifelong learning perspective can make a fundamental contribution to increasing prosperity, creating sustainable growth and encouraging social inclusion in transition and developing countries. ETF recruits and deploys experts from multiple disciplines to handle complex and multidimensional topics in a team environment, in order to create new knowledge, insight and solutions. 16 International Training Organisation - ILO As the world s only tripartite multilateral agency, the ILO is dedicated to bringing decent work and livelihoods, job-related security and better living standards to the people of both poor and rich countries. It helps to attain those goals by promoting rights at work, encouraging opportunities for decent employment, enhancing social protection and strengthening dialogue on work-related issues. The ILO is the international meeting place for the world of work. ILO staff members are the experts on work and employment and particularly on the critical role that these issues play in bringing about economic development and progress. At the heart of the ILO s mission is helping countries build the institutions that are the bulwarks of democracy and helping them to become accountable to the people. The ILO formulates international labour standards in the form of conventions and recommendations setting minimum standards of basic labour rights: freedom of association, the right to organise, collective bargaining, abolition of forced labour, equality of opportunity and treatment and other standards addressing conditions across the entire spectrum of work-related issues. The ILO s diverse tasks are grouped under four strategic objectives: Promote and implement standards and fundamental principles and rights at work; Create greater opportunities for women and men to secure decent employment and income; Enhance the coverage and effectiveness of social protection for all; Strengthen tripartitism and social dialogue. Global well-being and human progress require sustainable economic development, fair globalisation and multilateral governance that reinforce both economic growth and social justice at the international, national and community levels. In support of these aspirations, the ILO offers an unmatched store of knowledge about the world of work, which it acquired over more than 80 years of responding to the needs of people everywhere for decent jobs, livelihoods and dignity. ILO serves tripartite partners, and society as a whole, in a variety of ways including international standard-setting, technical cooperation for Member States, dissemination of best practices, training, communication and publications. The ILO promotes the development of independent employers and workers organisations and provides

17 relevant training and advisory services. Its technical cooperation includes such fields as: vocational training and vocational rehabilitation; employment policy; labour administration; labour law and industrial relations; working conditions; management development; cooperatives; social security; labour statistics and occupational safety and health. The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning - UIL UIL s mission is to see to it that all forms of education and learning; formal, non-formal and informal, are recognised, valued and available to meet the demands of individuals and communities throughout the world. UIL responds to these demands and helps to meet the challenges facing humanity (peace and democracy, sustainable development and poverty eradication, nurturing diversity, defeating HIV/AIDS, protecting the environment) with policy-driven research, capacity-building, networking, publications and technical services for Member States and non-governmental and civil society organisations, as well as private providers at their request. UIL s research covers appropriate concepts, good practice, favourable conditions and innovative approaches in the areas of literacy, non-formal education, adult and lifelong learning in different cultural contexts, including all modes of learning (formal, non-formal and informal), with a view to the creation of lifelong learning environments, the making of literate societies and the building of learning societies. All research activities aim at promoting adult and lifelong learning and at highlighting the contribution of learning to poverty alleviation, sustainable human development, democracy and critical citizenship. Research work is mainly policy-driven and action-oriented. The research carried out by the institute may take the form of individual case and country studies, comparative analyses, regional and cross-regional syntheses, international surveys, conceptual and position papers, co-operative and joint investigations with academics, partner institutions, governmental organisations, NGOs, etc. The Centre for Research on Lifelong Learning - CRELL The Centre for Research on Lifelong Learning (CRELL) based on indicators and benchmarks, located at the European Commission s Joint Research Centre in Ispra, northern Italy, was established in the context of policy demand for the monitoring and evaluation of national education and in response to the need to underpin monitoring instruments with sound scientific research. The European Commission monitors progress towards Community goals in the area of education and training using a framework of indicators and benchmarks, reported annually in the report on the progress towards the Lisbon objectives in education and training- indicators and benchmarks. The Commission itself is aware that the set of indicators currently employed is less than fully developed; in fact, the work carried out to date has pinpointed the key areas for which there is a lack of relevant and comparable data for monitoring progress in relation to the objectives set. The quality and comparability of the existing indicators need to be improved, particularly in the field of lifelong learning, and regularly reviewed. Various strategies are underway to address these needs, among them the establishment of CRELL. As a consequence, it was decided to set up the research unit on lifelong learning at the Joint Research Centre at Ispra to significantly increase the Commis- 17

18 sion s research capacity in terms of the development of new indicators. CRELL is involved in actively supporting the European Commission by providing scientific expertise and research in order to underpin the policy dossiers of DG Education and Culture. The Network of Experts in Social Sciences of Education and Training - NESSE NESSE is a network of scholars working on social aspects of education and training. The European Commission s Directorate General set it up in 2007 after a call for tenders for education and culture. The Institut National de Recherche Pédagogique (INRP, France) is responsible for the coordination of the network. NESSE s mission is to advise and support the European Commission in the analysis of educational policies and reforms, and to consider their implications at national, regional and European level. NESSE also contributes to the dissemination of knowledge on social aspects of education and training. NESSE is primarily a resource for policy-makers. However researchers, teachers, administrators, parents, students and journalists in the field of education and training and in the related field of public policy might also find it useful. It is a gateway to: Knowledge summaries on key issues; Key conclusions and recommendations from research (thematic reports); Info on experts and organisations working on social aspects of education and training; Books - papers; Ongoing and completed learning-related and wider social science research supported by the European Commission. The European Experts Network on Economics of Education - EENEE EENEE is a network of leading European centres and experts on the economics of education. As an EU think tank, EENEE is sponsored by the European Commission, Directorate General Education and Culture (DG EAC) and coordinated by the IFO Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich. EENEE s mandate is to give policy advice to the European Commission, to disseminate knowledge on the economics of education in Europe and to further research in the economics of education in Europe. As for policy advice, EENEE aims to contribute to the improvement of decision-making and policy development in education and training in Europe. The network advises and supports the European Commission in the analysis of economic aspects of educational policies and reforms. It aims to disseminate existing European knowledge on the economics of education to the Commission, pinpoint the gaps that there are in the European knowledge and to advise the Commission on how to work towards closing these gaps. High-quality policy advice from leading researchers and centres in the field of economics of education may thus contribute to an effective and efficient accumulation of skills and human capital in Europe. As for knowledge dissemination, EENEE aims to disseminate the existing knowledge on 18

19 the economics of education in Europe to any interested members of the public. For this purpose, the network set up a website on the economics of education in Europe, which also serves as an information device for journalists, practitioners, policymakers, and other stakeholders. The website provides quick and easy access to information on recent policyrelevant research in the economics of education, as well as on experts in different countries and in different areas of the economics of education. As for the European Research Area in the economics of education, the network contributes to creating a true European research area in the economics of education, establishing centres of excellence on economic aspects of education. EENEE is dedicated to creating an exchange platform for education economists in Europe as well as an easily accessible information device for policymakers, journalists and other people interested in the economics of education in Europe. The network assumes that this undertaking can contribute towards extending empirical knowledge in the field relevant for European countries. The European Lifelong Learning Indicators project - ELLI The European Lifelong Learning Indicators Project (ELLI project) was launched by the Bertelsmann Stiftung in 2008 in an effort to make the concept of lifelong learning more understandable and transparent. It is meant as a resource for political decision makers, from European to community level, educational institutions, private industry, academics and journalists as well as for any European citizens who want to know more about learning in their own country and the rest of Europe. The mission of the ELLI is to facilitate a better and more conscious approach towards lifelong learning. The Bertelsmann Stiftung intends to do its part to promote a culture of learning in Europe, in every aspect of life and throughout a person s lifetime. At the heart of the project there is the ELLI platform, web-based software that offers an extensive database for monitoring lifelong learning at various regional levels, based on the user s individual needs. ELLI includes not only the formal education system, but also learning that takes place outside the traditional educational institutions. To sum up, three of the aforementioned organisations belong to the European Union, another two are sponsored or funded by the EU Commission while the other two emanate from the United Nations. In two of them the role of social partners (employers and trade unions) is so prominent that staff recruiting and work plans are influenced by them. Three of them have a specific focus on research-related topics. A second consideration relates to the centrality of LLL for the activity of these organisations. CEDEFOP and UIL pay great attention to LLL, but apparently they consider it mainly in its VET implications. CRELL, NESSE and EENEE also develop tools and analyses mainly focussed on VET or on disciplines (such as the economy) applied to VET. Apparently, none of them pays specific attention to other focal points of LLL such as democracy empowerment or active citizenship support. The other two organisations seem to have different finalities and consider LLL-related interventions as one of many ways to accomplish their mission. ELLI can be considered a partner organisation, since it investigates LLL from many points of view, but does not represent the civil society. 19

20 EILL positioning Having considered other LLL-related organisations, let us try to imagine how the EILL could be distinguished and operate in a complementary way with respect to existing organisations. At the beginning of this section this relationship was defined as positioning. As a matter of fact, positioning is a communication technique used by professionals in advertising and marketing to support the visibility and awareness related to products, services, institutions or even persons. Positioning takes place in a time and a society that is overcrowded with messages, circulated by old and new media; the human mind, to defend itself, becomes extremely selective, refusing the majority of the information available. That is why positioning is not intervention on a product or a service: it is intervening with the mind of the potential addressee of communication. A few examples will be enough to see what using this technique could do for the EILL. The easiest way to access a person s mind is to get there first. For instance, most people remember that the first man to land on the moon was Neil Armstrong, while only a few remember the second one. Coca Cola was the first soft drink to appear and, although it has had several mighty competitors during the years, it created a first position image that is very difficult to change or destroy. In order to be the first, it is not necessary to be an inventor or to discover something: it is enough to be the first to conquer the mind of the reference target group. The story of Christopher Columbus is an example of this. Columbus discovered America in 1492 but was convinced he had reached Asia and so did not promote his achievement. Five years later Amerigo Vespucci reached America and did two very effective things: first, he correctly positioned the newfound land as a continent that was different from Asia and this was a revolution in contemporary geographical knowledge. Second, he wrote very detailed reports about his discoveries and theories. Some of these reports were translated into 40 languages and this conquered the minds of contemporary Europeans. As a result, the newfound land was named after him and not after Columbus. Let us now try to consider how the EILL could make itself stand out with respect to other existing LLL organisations. CEDEFOP, ILO, UIL, the ETF, CRELL, NESSE and EENEE all have a great deal of interest in dealing with LLL, but no single one of them can be the voice of the civil society since their status and missions are different. Second, EUCIS-LLL members cover many aspects of education, training, labour, society and lifelong learning. As a consequence, they can provide contributions and expertise that are original, coherent and interesting: eventually, they can be the first civil society platform to do so. Let us now concentrate on the EILL mission. Mission of the EILL The mission of the European Institute for Lifelong Learning is to participate in the creation of the knowledge society and support individual and collective emancipation and wellbeing through the development of lifelong learning. The general objective is to investigate lifelong learning policies, strategies, systems and practices and to cooperate with existing LLL organisations at local, national, European and international level. 

by Antonio MOCCI, independent researcher

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