LLLWeek 2023 | Weeklong discussions on education and lifelong learning & the sixth European Education Summit

It’s that time of year again! From 27 November until 1 December the Lifelong Learning Week organised by the Lifelong Learning Platform took place in Brussels. The LLLWeek aims to raise awareness on lifelong learning’s capacity to answer many challenges of modern societies and has become a milestone in the European education agenda, thanks to the support of civil society actors and Members of the European Parliament. This year’s LLLWeek revolved around Key Competences for All, stressing the importance of transversal competences and the need to decouple education from solely addressing labour market needs. 

In the LLLWeek framework, SOLIDAR Foundation organised a workshop on the Validation of competences acquired in the civil society sector and participated in the CITIZED Policy Discussion, bringing invaluable input on the recognition of key competences and on active citizenship respectively. 

The LLLWeek kickstarted on 27 November with the Stakeholders’ Forum, a daylong Conference where civil society representatives, education and training providers as well as policymakers came together to discuss the achievements of EEA and explore policy recommendations. The audience actively engaged in discussions on the following topics: 

  • Investment and funding for the achievement of the EEA; 
  • Governance of the EEA; 
  • Policy coherence within the EEA and with EU policies; 
  • Monitoring the implementation of EEA/Follow-up on measures’ implementation; 
  • Achieving equity within the EEA: the time for new strategic priorities. 

One of the highlights of the LLLWeek was the European Education Summit: The European Education Area: A reality for all, the annual flagship event of the European Education Area (EEA) taking place. This 6th edition elaborated on how the education and training sectors can be improved to benefit all, how EU countries are planning to better invest in education and training and how people can thrive in the green and digital transitions. Policymakers and key stakeholders of the education and training community from across the EU came together to discuss these topics. Commissioner Iliana Ivanova started the discussion by highlighting the importance of equity and inclusivity in education, and the tremendous role of citizenship education, especially in the context of the upcoming elections. Moreover, she insisted on proper funding for the education area.

At the Summit, Elisa Gambardella (President of the LLLP) called for adequate funding for holistic provision of lifelong learning to boost equity and inclusion as well as to improve working conditions of teachers and educators. She also emphasized the need for a Vice President for lifelong learning in the next European Commission, in order to enhance policy coherence and break the silos. When asked what she would wish the EU to be in 2030, she replied that education would be the priority of financial ministers, that the Erasmus+ would know a tenfold increase and, last but not least, that there would be a culture of policy co-creation between the different stakeholders in place.