AGEING POPULATION AND LIFELONG LEARNING

Leading region 

General background and the role of Regional and Local Authorities

Ageing population and the challenges with a growing proportion of the total population in EU has since 2010 been highlighted in several initiatives in EU in different programs and even a European year. The challenge has not become any smaller and will be growing until at least 2040 according to EU statistics.

Purpose of the EARLALL Working Group 

The issue of challenges and opportunities with a growing number of older adults is shared by many regions in Europe. It seemed natural that regional authorities should update knowledge and competence, in Earlall under the coordination of Jamtli Foundation on behalf of Region Jämtland Härjedalen.

Ongoing activities

Project application: TAC Third Age Competences

Position paper on the Review of the 2016 Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning


The Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning adopted in 2006 by the European Parliament and the Council sets out eight key competences. The review of the Recommendation is part of the New Skills Agenda for Europe and is linked to ET2020, including the Copenhagen process on vocational education and training (VET), the European Agenda for Adult Learning and the Agenda for Modernisation of Europe’s Higher Education System. The review also related to the European Pillar on Social Rights, and it contributes to the achievement of United National Sustainable Development Goal 4 “Education 2013”.

We acknowledge the importance of the common framework and welcome the update and the objective to deliver a relevant tool that can assist stakeholders at local, regional, national and European level in adequately addressing new societal challenges.

HIGHLIGHTS: 

First, the number of older adults grows all over Europe unevenly. And the access to volunteering of this target group is not stimulated if the older adult’s richness and capacity are not understood nor recognised. Secondly, the number of immigrants from Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere is higher than any time before in recent history. Third country nationals come with very different backgrounds, which means that they often lack needed competences for a satisfying livelihood in Europe, and have other competences which are not noticed or recognised here.

With the demographic changes accompanying the growing number of older adults and immigrants, it seems to be counterproductive to narrow the concept of Key Competences to skills for labour life. Europe needs more than ever to include these growing groups in society by making the most and the best of their competences for the benefit of our society. By only focusing on competences needed for employability, policies will not be developed to value and take advantage of the existing competences of these target groups, and, thereby, won´t make use of an overall potential for soft integration and cohesion, nor realise how lifelong learning can create true citizenship and worthy intergeneration.

In today's European situation, it is important to emphasize inclusion and cohesion in the competences framework. Diversity and differences between people need to be seen as an asset and not as a problem, and, in this context, understanding and learning are more important factors than ever. Lifelong learning needs to be lifelong, and not just limited to school time.

Past activities 

In 2012 and 2013 were conducted a number of seminars for a survey on regional level in Jämtland Härjedalen, Baden-Württemberg, Tuscany, Roskilde, Wales and Durham County. The combined survey shows commonalities and differences in how the regional and local stakeholders on older adults are organised and financed but even shows other interesting features.

An academic paper based on the regional seminars mentioned below was presented by researchers from NCK (The Nordic Centre of Heritage Learning & Creativity) at the Pascal Observatory conference on Learning Cities 2020 in Glasgow June 2016.

The working group was represented at the AFE-INNOVET conference in Brussels in December 2015. Members of the group have met in Östersund in October 2015 to discuss other possible actions. Most importantly we concluded that we need a mix of adult education and culture on both political and professional level if we want to carry on any larger action.

Useful documents ↓

EARLALL - Competence seminar on Ageing population (Gothenburg, 2009)