What is EUCIS-LLL and why does it matter to ECA members?

The European Civil Society Platform on Lifelong Learning (EUCIS-LLL) promotes European-wide cooperation amongst civil society organisations. Consisting of more than 30 European networks active in education and training, EUCIS-LLL works to build citizen’s voice on lifelong learning issues and to propose innovative solutions drawing upon the expertise of its member networks. The 2013 conference was held in Vilnius where up to half of the participants were from Lithuania.

The ECA is a part of EUCIS-LLL through our membership of the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) which promotes adult learning and the widening of access and participation in formal, non-formal and informal adult education. Being part of the EAEA and of EUCIS-LLL is important for the ECA because it provides a voice for us to push forward strong messages to EU institutions on lifelong learning.

What happened at the conference?

The conference was split into two parts. Firstly to debate the implications of the recent European Commission’s Communication on “Rethinking Education: Investing in Skills for better Socio-economic outcomes” and then for participants to work more specifically on one of the transversal competences in order to look at what is being done currently and what could be improved for the future.

This was an important opportunity, thanks to EUCIS-LLL, to hear from Pierre Mairesse, Director of the Directorate A and to be able to respond. ECA members will be especially supportive of EUCIS-LLL in their belief that “adopting a holistic view of lifelong learning also means fostering a learner-centred approach rather than a market-centred one.” The point that Europeans must not only acquire and update specific job-related skills but also possess the transversal competences that will enable them to manage change and become lifelong learners was strongly made.

ECA members will also be positive about the argument made by members of EUCIS-LLL that “the role of non-formal and informal learning and its providers such as civil society organisations needs to be acknowledged for offering rich, various and empowering learning experiences”.

What was discussed in the workshops?

In the workshop on digital competences it was the gap between the use of new social media in everyday life which is common to all member states and the fact that in 2010 only 39% of Europeans used the Internet for any training and education related activity with huge disparities across countries. The discussion mainly identified this as a gap that should be narrowed and that perhaps current Open Educational Resources (OERs) are not flexible or participative enough. There was also a strong sense that those who were most losing out were unemployed young people and the use of social media is seen as one part of creating a solution to this Europe-wide crisis.

Overall, the conference was a timely reminder of the importance of a wide view of lifelong learning and of encouraging the appetite for learning at all ages.

Change of President for EUCIS-LLL

Finally, ECA members will remember Gina Ebner as one of the speakers at our last AGM in Leicester and she has just finished her time as President of EUCIS-LLL. However Gina is still the Secretary-General of the EAEA and will be at the EAEA conference that many ECA members will be attending in June. The new President of EUCIS-LLL is David Lopez, who may be less well known to ECA members but who as Secretary-General of the European Federation for Education and Culture (EFEC) is likely to continue to be a major advocate for ECA values across Europe. David is Head of Department at La Ligue de l’enseignement in Paris and within EUCIS-LLL he also represents SOLIDAR, a network of civil society organisations working to advance social justice in Europe and worldwide.

Chris Minter, ECA Vice Chair & Director

Date Added: May 20th 2013