This ARC8 Expert Group discusses risks and opportunities in addressing inequality in lifelong learning, and how to realize the potential of adult learning and education, both for SDG 4 and for the other 16 SDGs. Members are jointly working on the lifelong learning chapter of the ARC8 Outlook Report 2030: Inclusive and Diverse Higher Education in Asia and Europe to be presented in the summer of 2021.
Topics discussed: upskilling, reskilling, validation of informal & non-formal learning, flexible learning pathways, inclusive LLL policies, underrepresented groups, gender gap, digital divide, quality assurance, disadvantaged, vulnerable and excluded populations, access to lifelong learning opportunities.
Expert Group Members
Summary of Presentations
The first session of the experts was dedicated to gather inputs to the Outlook Report 2030: Inclusion and Diversity in Higher Education in Asia and Europe. Two experts shared their views on the status quo of inclusion in lifelong learning, and proposed risks and opportunities to be discussed by group members. Below is a short summary of their presentations and the ideas they sparked in the group discussion.
Presented by Prof Séamus Ó TUAMA, Director, Adult Continuing Education, University College Cork; Chair of the ASEM Lifelong Learning Hub
Prof Seamus was asked to focus on the following questions in a 10-minute presentation, to provide food for thought for the expert group:
- What is your take, how inclusive are the national, institutional LLL policies and practices currently, what is the status quo? Do you have any numbers to show?
- What potential risks do you foresee that could jeopardize greater inclusion in LLL in the next 10 years?
- What opportunities, leverage points do you see to promote inclusion in LLL the next 10 years?
He was able to provide cases and specific examples of lifelong learning programs from Ireland from which he identified risks and opportunities in relation. First, he defined inclusion in lifelong learning, then introduced data from the Irish context to better explain the demography of those participating in lifelong learning.
According Prof Seamus the one potential risk that could jeopardize greater inclusion in the field of lifelong learning is the overemphasis on skills which are understood in narrow way. Regarding the leverage points to promote inclusion in lifelong learning, he pointed out several mechanisms that could be used to enhance inclusion, and he talked about the “Reflexive Activation of Unemployed People” as another potential leverage point.