Lifelong Learning and the Sustainable Development Goals: Probing the Implications and Effects

Time Tuesday 13:15 - 14:45
Location VMP 9 - Room 08
Speakers David Atchoarena, Raúl Valdés-Cotera, Rakhat Zholdoshalieva, Inka Bormann
Chair tba

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development confirmed lifelong learning’s status as a recognised ingredient of planning for sustainable and participatory development. Its 17 goals and 169 targets are intended to represent an integrated solution to urgent challenges, meaning that the key dimensions of sustainable development should be considered holistically as interconnected and of equal importance. In this context, the capacity of lifelong learning to build bridges between different types and levels of education and learning and, crucially, between different life spheres and policy contexts, becomes particularly relevant. Especially important are notions of adult learning, training, educating and awareness raising, which are embedded in many of the goals.

Lifelong learning therefore brings implications and effects to bear upon the pursuit of the SDGs and is integral to their achievement. This EERA session will explore how in four key areas: (1) lifelong learning policies; (2) the recognition, validation and accreditation (RVA) of learning outcomes in Latin America and the Caribbean; (3) lifelong learning for literacy and basic skills; and (4) education for sustainable development in higher education institutions.

(1) Lifelong learning policies
As lifelong learning takes place across life and cuts across sectors, it has direct and indirect benefits to a range of agendas. An integrated, inter-sectoral approach to lifelong learning policymaking is thus the responsibility of all ministries and government agencies and, furthermore, should include the private sector and civil society. International targets have a special significance in the process - particularly those of the 2030 Agenda - as they promote lifelong learning opportunities in alignment with national context, traditions, challenges and existing provision.

(2) Recognition, validation and accreditation (RVA) of learning outcomes in Latin America and the Caribbean
RVA is one of the pillars of any lifelong learning policy. By providing visibility to previously unrecognised learning, it boosts learners’ self-esteem and motivation, as well as leading to greater well-being and more job opportunities. RVA is at the centre of SDG 4 and, particularly, target 4.3: it is only possible to truly “ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university” by developing RVA. Through a comparative analysis of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, some similarities, differences and suggested future directions emerge.

(3) Lifelong learning for literacy and basic skills
SDG target 4.6 envisages a minimum proficiency level  in  literacy  and  numeracy  which  is  equivalent  to  the  level  achieved  upon  successful  completion  of  basic  education.  There are three closely interrelated dimensions of  “lifelong  literacy”,  namely  (1)  literacy  as  a  lifelong  learning  process;  (2)  literacy  as  a  life-wide  process;  and  (3)  literacy  as  part  of  sector-wide  reforms  towards  lifelong  learning  systems.  Trends are emerging, such as the need for an expanded vision of literacy and greater progress before literacy (and numeracy) are tackled from a lifelong learning perspective. This could have a transformative effect on the achievement of the SDGs.

(4) Education for sustainable development in higher education institutions
Education for sustainable development (ESD) provides a means of ensuring healthy living environments by raising awareness of climate change, pollution, mental and physical health risks and the need for environmental protection. Sustainable development is an urgent task for our society and is attracting increasing attention. Higher education institutions (HEIs), like all other organisations within our society, are called upon to deal with the associated challenges. The task of HEIs is to deal theoretically, conceptually, methodically, critically, and reflectively with the processes and conditions of transformation, in order to contribute towards ensuring that sustainability is implemented in a specific context.

EERA Going Green

As part of the commitment of EERA to ensuring that our annual European Conference on Educational Research (ECER) is as sustainable as possible, we were delighted to work with the local organisers of our Hamburg 2019 conference to develop our 'Green Agenda'.  Watch this videoto learn more!

To cover and document the conference from a student’s perspective, Josephine Hohberg, a masterstudent in Hamburg, will blog and report on her #ECER2019 experience.
Read more

Upcoming ECERs

ECER'24, Nicosia
iCal Download