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 Yet she goes on to add that, in practice, most education systems in Europe are outdated, with some worse than others.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!
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