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Bringing Lifelong Learning Into People’s Real Lives


Viviane Reding, the European Commissioner responsible for education and training, delivered one of her first major speeches on EU education policy at a Conference organised by the European Centre for Public Affairs on the 4th November.

One of the key themes of her speech was lifelong learning and its important role in both the economic and social
policies of the EU. She reviewed the success of the European Year of Lifelong Learning but also stressed that a new initiative was required.

Saying that the next decade will be the one to "move from words to action" in terms of lifelong learning, she declared: "I want to bring our Treaty provisions and our policy texts to life; I want to help bring lifelong learning into people's real lives" She said that some of the
most important issues to deal with in a practical way are already clear:

*  recognising and validating non-formal learning, and improving the links between formal systems and non-formal systems (such as work-based learning);

*  supporting innovation in progression and accreditation (such as arrangements for the recognition of prior experience or the development of portable portfolios of achievement);

*  experimenting and exchange of good practice with innovative pedagogies (including through initial and in-service education and training);

*  supporting information and awareness-raising initiatives (such as the European Year of Languages in 2001);

*  encouraging co-operation to improve access at all levels of education and training (in particular, working to remove obstacles to transnational mobility for study and training).

She emphasised that the common approach of each of the new education and training action programmes (Leonardo II, Socrates II and Youth) will make a distinctive contribution to implementing lifelong learning.


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