top of page
Image by Pavan Trikutam

3rd Global Lifelong Learning Week - Universities at the forefront of lifelong learning

Hosted by the University College Cork, in Ireland, the 3rd Global Lifelong Learning Week was an exciting opportunity for researchers, policymakers, educators and stakeholders from five continents to gather, network, share insights and discuss opportunities for collaboration! From 27-31 May, under the auspices and the organisation of the ASEM LLLHub & eucen, a large series of events gave impetus to lifelong learning in universities and beyond!

Over 50 speakers and 200 participants from over 40 countries attended the events, sessions and workshops of the conference, addressing the theme “Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity in our world”. Particular space was given to the opportunities and threats posed by AI, the ongoing problem of misinformation and fake news (with a special focus on the EU Elections), and the ever-present challenge posed by climate change to our societies.

Some conclusions? First off, international stakeholders feel the need to state, once again, that skills and competence development should go beyond labour market needs - as many policy developments hint at. Indeed, lifelong learning is about empowering people and communities to remain active in society, with the social dimension of learning exceeding the utilitarian argument.

Additionally, it’s imperative for decision-makers to continue funding and allocate resources as well as to building private and public partnerships that can foster a culture of lifelong learning outside of the usual and formal education environments. Designing inclusive lifelong learning strategies, policies and opportunities is a must: oftentimes the most vulnerable cannot access education opportunities. Overlooking inclusion strategies means to continue to serve the most qualified and privileged and segregation, unfortunately, is still a key feature of our systems.

Global exchanges such as this one are much needed to surf the current momentum: societal and economic issues are similar in most countries, so systemic action is required. Fixing skills shortages in a country relying on third country nationals may create problems in another country: the fight for talents without cooperation will be damaging.

When it comes to research, more research and better links between theory and practice were deemed crucial. This includes more work and research on how to overcome the remaining barriers to improve access. Universities were of course a big focus of the week and their role within the communities they serve cannot be overstated - involving all stakeholders and especially learners in the definition of learning paths remains a crucial endeavour for the entire world.


bottom of page