Lifelong learning – a cliché or the new concept for fuelling achievement for the sustainable development goals?


No doubt that lifelong learning is on its way up. You can see this for the number of initiatives popping up, the ICDE Lillehammer Lifelong Learning Summit and the  50th EUCEN conference, both promoted in the newsletter.  The focus of the UNESCO 3rd World Conference on Higher Education (2020) will be on universities as communities of lifelong learning. And many, many more. New reports galvanize the justification for giving priority to lifelong learning: The Economist special report on lifelong education “Learning and earning” (January 2018), the World Economic Forum on “Towards a Reskilling Revolution. A Future of Jobs for All” (January 2018), the foresight “Future of skills and lifelong learning”  (November 2017) from the UK government are good examples.

The report from the Swedish government “Digitaliseringen och den statliga arbetsgivarpolitiken” (April 2018 – in Swedish – translated “Digitalisation and the governmental employer policy”) recommends a new governmental system for lifelong learning, competency development and readjustment.  The report from Royal Bank of Canada “Humans Wanted. How Canadian youth can thrive in the age of disruption” (April 2018) among others delivers suggestions for future skills needs. (You can read Tony Bates summary here).

In the previous blogpost by the ICDE Secretary General he just wrote that the current innovation wave, the fourth industrial revolution, seen in the perspective of the 17 sustainable development goals: “represents a massive call for lifelong learning.  This calls for a collaborative effort we have not yet seen”.

This is just a small selection of examples showing that the ideas, thinking and suggestions for the future of lifelong learning are boiling. A good reason for planning your trip to Lillehammer, Norway, for 11 – 13 February 2019: “to shape the future of lifelong learning”!

Gard Titlestad

ICDE Secretary General

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