The way we learn is changing. New technology is disrupting old ways of organising society and labour, and workers are increasingly having to “upskill” throughout their lives. The division of an individual’s life between the “education years” and the “working years” is breaking down. Instead, many policy experts argue the new focus should be on lifelong learning.

So what exactly is “lifelong learning”? In today’s debate, we’re going to take a look at best practices in lifelong learning across Europe, with a focus on digital skills and current trends in digitisation of learning. Which European countries are excelling and why? Are some countries falling behind? How can they improve?

Want to learn more about lifelong learning? Check out our infographic below (click for a bigger version):

What do our readers think? First up, we had a comment from Eszter, who says “cradle-to-gave lifelong learning” is part of the European Pillar of social rights. Yet she goes on to add that, in practice, most education systems in Europe are outdated, with some worse than others. Is she right? What does the picture look like across the EU when it comes to lifelong learning? Are some countries doing better than others?

To get a response, we spoke to Zachary Kilhoffer, Researcher at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS). He has recently co-authored a report for CEPS called the Index of Readiness for Digital Lifelong Learning, which ranks EU Member States by how prepared they are to deliver lifelong learning. What would he say?

Next up, we had a sceptical comment sent in from Michael, who says: “I’m not optimistic. Unskilled labour is being squeezed out, and retraining or retooling people for more complicated jobs assumes that everyone is equally capable with the right incentive. Some people depend on unskilled work, some people are just too old retrain.”

To get a response, we spoke to Maria Lopes Saraiva, Head of Strategy & Product at Grow with Google (EMEA), a project launched by Google to support learning new skills, including digital skills. What would she say?

For another perspective, we also put Michael’s comment to Renato Sabbadini, Chief Executive Officer of All Digital, a Brussels-based association of digital competence centres. Will unskilled labour be squeezed out by new technology whatever we do, regardless of all this talk of “lifelong learning”?

Next up, Janet asks: “What are these ‘digital skills’” that people keep talking about? What do we actually want to teach when we talk about lifelong learning?

We spoke to Yves Punie, Deputy Head of Unit at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission, and asked him to explain exactly what digital skills people mean when they are promoting lifelong learning.

Should lifelong learning be guaranteed for all? Should it be a basic right? Can it help make workers more adaptable to changing technology? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: (c) BigStock – monkeybusinessimages
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20 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar

    Lifelong learning is the right of everyone. Constantly learning and improving your work ability with the development of the times is also the basis for ensuring efficiency.

  2. avatar
    EU Reform- Proactive

    What does another such EU “glorified” basic human right like education in general and “life long” in particular” (booked by a minority of privileged, self motivated & self driven- mainly 1st world learners) help the masses of a “live long” disadvantaged youth and adults” born into a world and system of hopelessly poor, dysfunctional and corrupt governments?

    Such difficult to achieve standard-“for all humans” remains a pipe-dream. It is propagated & tangled like a carrot by those who are rather privileged, comfortable and can afford 2 to 3 meals a day.

    Most Rights “reside” mainly in books, clouds or heaven- but very costly to enforce & implement!

    Human rights (in general) do not apply or is a privilege of EU citizen only- but (should) belong to 7 bio of humanity!

  3. avatar

    In Malta it is already guaranteed.

  4. avatar

    Knowledge is not for preparation or execution of jobs, tasks. it is always neeed to better understand and respond to LIFE scientifically, rationally, humanely collectively digging deeper than voltaire, Russell, Einstein, rejecting BELIEF IN A CREATOR, useless, conficting, story telling!

  5. avatar

    EU subsidizes bullfights ! End that NOW !

  6. avatar

    Most stupid idea ever for brainwashing.

  7. avatar

    Who is nowerdays not able to find staff to learn on the Internet, for free, is simply lazy.

  8. avatar

    Yes absolutely and should be required.

  9. avatar

    Life long learning may even improve your spelling (… live’s…)

    • avatar

      Life = correct…

  10. avatar

    Let the EU lurn to get lost and not to dominate and destroy our entity and communities of our own! No more devide and rule and or immigration and horror import from everywhere! EU just wants to make and hold us stupid, just to learn for making the wealthy , richer and more evil and powerfull!

    • avatar

      for what…?

  11. avatar

    people cant even get jobs or find homes, this is a silly luxury

  12. avatar

    yes…i miss learning,being in the classroom,whether as a student or teacher

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