23 SES 08 A, Navigating Shifting Geographies of Lifelong Learning Policies Part 2
Symposium continued from 23 SES 07 A
The EU has been engaged with the concept of social exclusion in education and training for a long time. However, while most of the EU education policies emphasize the importance of education in overcoming social exclusion and improving the situation of vulnerable groups, they rarely specify concrete policy measures to tackle social exclusion (Carrera & Geyer, 2009). The aim of this paper is to examine the measures against social exclusion proposed in EU lifelong learning policies. We analyze which measures are offered and how equitable these measures are. By drawing on Levin’s (2003) work on approaches to equity in policy for lifelong learning we look at the target groups of the policy measures, we look at whether the overall levels of provision are sufficient and of the right kind, and we also look at whether the measures encourage individual participation, whether they encourage changes in the institutional delivery systems and methods, and whether they promote changes of broader social phenomena in order to support equity. Policy documents that form the European Union’s legal and political frameworks of reference in the LLL area in the last two and a half decades are analysed. A total of 56 European policy documents issued by the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, and the European Parliament have been analysed. The analysed documents cover the period between 1992 and 2017 and have been analysed using content analysis. This paper argues that developing basic skills is one of the most common measures offered in the policies and that early school leavers are the target group that the policies mostly cater to. Furthermore, while the proposed measures encourage to some extent individual participation, changes in the institutional delivery systems and methods, and changes of broader social phenomena, we argue that a greater variety of policy measures are needed in order to better address equity and the needs of the vulnerable who often suffer from cumulative disadvantage. A greater variety of policy measures such as for example financial and non-financial incentives, advertising, creating new programs, new delivery systems and better services, would allow a much broader understanding of lifelong learning where the learner is offered much more than the traditional basic skills.
Carrera, S., & Geyer, F. (2009). EU policy on education: The impact on the social inclusion of vulnerable groups. CEPS Special Report. Brussels: CEPS. Levin, B. (2003). Approaches to equity in policy for lifelong learning. A paper commissioned by the Education and Training Policy Division, OECD, for the Equity in Education Thematic Review.
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