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
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.
Presentation by Prof Séamus Ó TUAMA, Director, Adult Continuing Education, University College Cork; Chair of the ASEM Lifelong Learning Hub
Seamus has started his presentation using Ireland as an example. First he defined inclusion in lifelong learning, then brought some data from the Irish context to illustrate who participates in lifelong learning.
He pointed out, that the one the potential risks that could jeopardize greater inclusion in the field of lifelong learning, is the overemphasis on skills and that skills are seen in a very 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.
Presentation of Prof Dr Melinda BANDALARIA, Chancellor and Professor, University of the Philippines Open University
Melinda started her presentation by giving her own definition of lifelong learning, then introduced the lifelong learning policy context of the ASEAN countries, with a very detailed overview of lifelong learning policies in the Philippines.
In terms of potential risks that could jeopardize inclusion in the next decade Melinda has listed 5 options, including quality, funding, disruptions, and snobbery. In terms of opportunities and leverage points to promote inclusion Melinda has shared six points, including open source tools, mode of instruction, assistive technologies, etc.