Lithuanian Presidency putting spotlight on lifelong learning

09 December 2013, Last updated at, 14:08 EET
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author: PantherMedia/Scanpix

On 9-10 December over 200 education experts from 33 UNESCO participant countries gather in Vilnius to discuss how to improve accessibility, quality and efficiency of lifelong learning. On behalf of the Lithuanian Presidency, Minister of Education and Science Dainius Pavalkis welcomed the conference on adult learning underlining the importance of lifelong learning in the constantly changing world.

“The issue of lifelong adult learning is relevant today more than ever, both in terms of the ability to adapt to the needs of the changing labour market and to implement such objectives of the society at large as social activity, citizenship, and sustainable development”, said D. Pavalkis, chairing the meetings of EU education and science ministers.

“Recently, the countries in Europe, as well as all other countries around the world, have been facing major challenges. The economic crisis, unemployment, demographic changes, migration, the weakening of the role of national states within the context of global economic processes, and rapid technological development encourage us to rethink the role of education and adult learning”, said the Lithuanian Minister of Education and Science.

“The potential of adult learning is still not sufficiently exploited. Even in Europe, which is a leader both in terms of providing learning opportunities and regularly evaluating the level of adult learning, there is on average only 9 per cent of such learners and we have about 73 million adults with low levels of educational qualifications”, said D. Pavalkis.

Minister Pavalkis emphasized that Lithuania is putting a lot of efforts into ensuring that adults with different needs – whether they are company employees or third-age university students, and regardless of their age, education or place of residence – will have more opportunities to learn and pay for learning not only using their own resources, but also public finances. A new draft of the Law on Non-Formal Adult Education and Continuing Education has been prepared in the Lithuanian Parliament.

According to D. Pavalkis, the European Union provides many learning opportunities, therefore the initiative of European adults to make best use of them is very important.

“The data of international studies of the situation should provide us with the guidance on specific measures to be taken to ensure effective, high-quality adult education that meets the needs of each learner”, says the Lithuanian Minister.

The international conference „Equipping Adults for the 21st Century – Joining Forces for Action on Skills and Competences“ will discuss current situation of adult learning and the main European and global tendencies, while focusing on quality assurance and financing issues as well as sharing insights on the future perspectives.

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