What mega trends are influencing the Lifelong Learning system?

There are a number of megatrends that affect the continuous reforms of education systems. The first that was highlighted by the Alliance Summit participants is the de-globalisation and/or re-globalisation. The Covid-19 Pandemic and the Ukraine international crisis have put in question the globalisation model that has been dominant since the nineties. Both macro-events are forcing countries and companies to reflect on the sustainability of an industrial production model based on extreme outsourcing and delocalisation. Lifelong Learning systems will inevitably have to monitor how a revision of the current industrial model will affect human capital development needs and adapt their services. On a more long term perspective, lifelong learning systems should have the ambition of strengthening democratic values through creation of strong citizenship competences and values, with the final aim of eliminating any support to armed resolutions of international crisis.

The second megatrend is the green revolution. Awareness has finally moved up from pioneers to the whole political, industrial and economic world. Changes are coming fast and the pace will only increase with time. In Europe, governments, and the EU in particular, are using their power of setting standards to force industry and civil society to embrace change. Lifelong Learning systems are trying to cope with the revolution but it is clear that more than initial education, it is the continuing training component of the Lifelong Learning systems which will address the growing skills gap caused by the green revolution.

The third megatrend highlighted is the digital revolution and its impact on what are the digital competences that students should get through education and how students can use digital teaching and learning processes to acquire qualifications more effectively. Also in this case the continuing education provision should be enforced to address the skills gap of the population that existed before the digital revolution. The pandemic caused huge challenges in education provision but forced countries to learn the potential of digital revolution for education.

The last two megatrends identified by the participants refer to endogenous changes in Lifelong Learning, which are forced by the mentioned exogenous trends. The first is the pressing need of making educational planning more flexible to the evolving needs of the labour market as well as students’ Lifelong careers. The current initial education systems in particular are still laying on XX century foundations and contain governance and administrative provisions that too often overcome political will of reform. The second is the process of creating flexible and combined qualifications (e.g. economy and art) supported by solid key competences arming individuals for a flexible and unforeseeable future.

Platforms of skills ecosystems: a Lifelong learning system model in which TVET can lead local communities to achieving the SDG’s
Filippo Del Ninno
Giovani Crisonà