New Perspectives for Learning - Briefing Paper 56
Challenges for education and training policies and research arising from European integration and enlargement
This is the 2nd Interim Briefing Paper of the project that started in September 2001
With a history strongly rooted in an economic context, the EU aim of moving towards a “Knowledge based society” can be regarded a rather recent development, more devoted to the role of the EU in global competition. The concept of a “European society” focuses more on the process of European integration and might be sketched as a society where citizens will have “the feeling of belonging to the European Union” while at the same time being rooted in regional traditions and cultures. The European integration process thus includes both elements: the development of supra-national structures and identities, and the preservation and development of regional and national cultural characteristics. As the attempt of equal partners to establish common economic, financial and legal structures while at the same time cherishing cultural traditions, the EU integration is historically without precedent. This dynamic and not conflict-free interplay of factors is a special characteristic of the European integration that presents a particular challenge as it offers unique opportunities.
At the same time, EU integration and enlargement are taking place in the context of some larger trends:
- the globalisation of economies leading to the restructuring of learning related policies as an element of international competition;
- the implementation of a knowledge-based society accompanied by the institutional and contextual adaptation of learning related policies towards the needs of the emerging learning society;
- The Eastern European countries’ move towards market economy.
Framed by these broader trends the Thematic network EURONE&T investigates the impact of the European integration and enlargement processes on learning related policies in EU member and accession countries. Special attention is given to the issue how these change processes are related to the strategic aim of creating a European knowledge-based or learning society.
EURONE&T does not limit itself to education and training policies but builds upon the term 'learning related policies' in order to include a broader range of policy fields that relate to learning, such as labour market policies, education and training policies and science and technology policies. Thus EURONET is based on a wide interdisciplinary approach and involves other than educational research.
The discourse about a Learning Society is not restricted to Europe, but a topic on the international research and policy agendas. EURONET has therefore extended its discourses about the vision of a Learning Society towards a global context. EURONET has invited scholars from Asia (China, Korea, Japan), Russia, the US and Canada, South-America, Australia, New-Zealand, India and Arabian Societies to participate in a global discourse about the Learning Society and related post modern Society concepts.
The notion of a knowledge-based or learning society constitutes the aim of devising learning related policies at a European, and increasingly at national levels. A learning society can be considered a society where knowledge and continuous learning occupy a central position and affect all aspects of economic, political or social life. Different from mainstream discourses, which a rather focused on economic, technological and institutional issues EURONET put the learning citizens at the centre of its work. This central position of the learner is important to EURONE&T when analysing learning related policies in the present context.
EURONE&T investigates the impact of the European integration and enlargement processes on learning related policies in EU member and accession countries with special regard to their contributions to creating and supporting the learning citizen.
Factors considered by EURONE&T include a) political, cultural and historical features that influence the generation of the learning citizen, b) developments towards EU integration, and c) factors that result from transition challenges. These interrelated factors and their dynamic interplay constitute the general topics of the project and are addressed from different perspectives by the four thematic EURONET domains guiding the interdisciplinary discourses among scholars from Europe and abroad.
The Learning Society visions in Europe and beyond
Thematic domain 1:
Learning related policies in member states/regions between internationalised challenges and national systems.
Thematic domain 2:
Learning related policies and EU enlargement from the perspective of member states and candidate countries during transition to market economy in accession countries.
Thematic domain 3:
Learning related policies from the European perspective: European policies and research.
Learning related policies include various policy fields and are also devised and implemented at different policy levels opening up a range of possibilities regarding the combination of policy fields and levels concerned. All of these different fields and policy levels are addressed by EURONE&T, here again focused on the central question of their contribution to creating and supporting the learning citizen.
Deriving from this general outline, a number of questions are pursued that evolve around the central topic of the thematic network: the impact of the European integration and enlargement processes on learning related policies in EU member and accession countries with special regard to their contributions to creating and supporting the learning citizen.
The discourse about the learning society visions and interplay between national and European policies in the fields of education and training, science and technology and labour market is being addressed from different perspectives covering learning related policies in the light of European integration and enlargement:
1. The conceptualisation of learning related policies and research in post modern society discourses as learning, information or knowledge based societies.
Key issues involve:
Reasoning: context, reasons for inferring the need for/the arrival of the Learning Society
Overall characteristics and objectives: working, learning and living a Learning Society
Major controversies of the debate
Critique of the LS concept
International dimension and cultural contexts
2. Learning related policies in member states and regions between internationalised challenges and national systems –the perspective of member states and regions. Key issues involve:
What does it mean to be ‘European’, and how is a multi- or trans-cultural identity built on the basis of nation citizenship?
How do education and training feature in / mediate this process? To what ends?
Is active, participatory European citizenship a target that education systems in member states are aiming for?
The state and supranationalism: how does the nation-state mediate EU education/training policy leads? Through which mechanisms and strategies is such mediation achieved?
Creating Europe: what role for education, work based learning, R & D, and LLL?
Is there a hiatus between educational agendas of national Ministers of Education, and those of educators?
Do we see a rift between technocratic discourse on the one hand, and a discourse focused on identity and citizenship on the other?
What are the foundational images of LLL in Europe and the EU?
Is there a ‘European approach’ to lifelong education and training? If so, what would its constitutive elements be?
Setting the lifelong learning agenda: who determines the LLL education policy in Europe?
Educating citizens about/for Europe: How does the EU feature, if at all, in the curricula of member states at all levels, including teacher education?
3. Challenges and opportunities of EU integration and enlargement –the perspective of new member states and candidate countries in the period of transition.
Key issues involve:
What are the concepts and the meanings behind basic connotations: Europe and transition?
Is ‘learning society’ a credible concept in Central and Eastern European countries?
What are the main challenges for the central and east European countries in their transition to the Lisbon agenda and the Europe of Knowledge?
Is there convergence or divergence of learning systems across the expanding European Union?
What are main features and challenges for knowledge production and national innovation capacity in transition?
Is learning the answer to social exclusion in transition economies?
Where to guide learners and workers in the information or learning society: the situation in central and east European countries
Future of vocational education and lifelong learning in the enlarged Europe: to which end?
4. Learning related policies and learning related research – the view of the bodies of the European Union.
Key issues involve:
What are the concepts of the Learner in European strategies for global competition? Who is this new global player?
What are the aims of the Knowledge Based Society and what is the role of knowledge, learning and the learner according to European policy concepts?
What are the concepts of knowledge and learning implied in these considerations?
How are the strategic ideas of the Knowledge Based Society means of global competition related to learning related policies within the EU? Which role does the learner play in this?
Which role do educational policies of the Commission play to change education towards the Knowledge Based Society as means of global competition?
How does the Commission intervene in education policies in EU member states?
What are the contributions of EU programmes in the field of education to construct the European Learner?
How are and who is constructing the discourses designing European policies in general and in educational policies in particular?
What and how does the research contribute to design and conceptualize European policies?
What is the contribution of European educational research conducted under European Research Programmes to the discourse of the European political elites?
The full title of the project is: “Towards the European Society: Challenges for Education and Training Policies and Research Arising from the European Integration and Enlargement”. The final report is due in April 2004.
The project website at: http://www.learningpolicies.net/
The outcomes of the EURONET discourses are published in four books, published at P. Lang. (See books table of contents below)
“The Learning Society in Europe and beyond”
Edited by Michael Kuhn and Ronald Sultana
“Homo Sapiens Europeus?“- Creating the European Learning Citizen”
Edited by Michael Kuhn and Ronald Sultana
“The Clash of Transitions – Towards a Learning Society”
Edited by Olga Striestka
“The European Learner – A new Global Player?”
Edited by Michael Kuhn
Academic Information Centre, National Observatory, Latvia
Université Louis Pasteur, France
Forum for European Regional Policies, University of Bremen, Germany
Fafo Institute of Applied Social Science, Norway
Human Resource Development Centre, Bulgarian National Observatory, Bulgaria
Institute for Educational Sciences, Romania
National Training Fund, Czech Republic
Navreme Knowledge Development, Austria
Tallin Technical University, Estonia
University of Stirling, United Kingdom
University of Tampere, Finland
Dr. Michael Kuhn
BFER, University of Bremen
Enrique-Schmidt Straße 7 (SFG)
Tel. +49 421 218 42 80
Fax. +49 421 218 48 96
Books tables of contents
1. The Learning Society discourse In Europe and Abroad
Part 1: Introduction
Chapter 1 The Learning Society Discourse in a Global Context
Michael Kuhn and Ronald Sultana
Part 2: The Learning Society in Europe
Chapter 2 “Perspectives on the Learning Society in Finland”
Chapter 3 Lifelong Learning and the Learning Society: The Evolution of Concepts and Research in the UK
Chapter 4 “Towards a learning society from a French perspective”
Chapter 5 “Discourses of Learning Society: An Italian Literature Review”
Chapter 6 Education for inclusion in the Information Society in Spain
Esther Oliver and Iolanda Tortajada
Chapter 7 ‘Learning society’ and ‘knowledge society’ – concepts and controversies in the German discourse
Chapter 8 The Learning Society discourse in Europe
Part 3: The Learning Society in transition countries in Europe
Chapter 9: Towards a Learning Society: The Russia Experience
Chapter 10 Towards The Learning Society: Theoretical Concepts and EU Learning Related Policies
Chapter 11 The Learning society in Central and Eastern European countries: an analysis of 8 country studies
Part 4: The Learning Society beyond Europe
Chapter 12 The Learning Society discourse in the US and Canada
Chapter 13 The Brazilian scientific discourse about the Information Society and its variations
Rodeli Rodriguez de Mello and Paulo Eduardo Gomes Bento
Chapter 14 Public policies and scientific discourse about the Learning Society in the countries of South America
Chapter 15 The Learning Society discourse in Japan
Chapter16 Learning Societies in East Asia: Comparing the Learning Society discourses in China, South Korea and Japan
Chapter17 Towards a Learning Society: The New Zealand Experience
Chapter 18 The idea of a Learning Society: an Australian perspective
Chapter 19 Discourses and Challenges of Building a Learning Society in India
Chapter 20 Learning Society and Knowledge Society in South African Debates
Chapter 21 The Learning Societies in Arabian Societies
Andre Elias Mazawi
2. Homo Sapiens Europæus? - Creating the European Learning Citizen
Chapter 1 Creating the European learning citizen: which citizen for which Europe?
Michael Kuhn and Ronald G. Sultana
Chapter 2 The case of the UK: Homo Sapiens Europaeus vs Homo Quaestuosus Atlanticus? European Learning Citizen or Anglo-American Human Capitalist?
Roger Dale and Susan Robertson
Chapter 3 Danish learning traditions in the context of the European Union
Chapter 4 Training measures at an interplay between national and Community policies for social integration
Chapter 5 Governance and the learning citizen: tensions and possibilities in the shift from national to post-national identities
John Field and Mark Murphy
Chapter 6 Knowledge in the bazaar: pro-active citizenship in the learning society
António M. Magalhães and Stephen R. Stoer
Chapter 7 The modification of learning through cultural traditions and societal structures Gabriele Laske
Chapter 8 National and European policies for lifelong learning: an assessment of developments within the context of the European Employment Strategy
Mark Stuart and Ian Greenwood
Chapter 9 Who can drive the education and training dimension of the National Action Plans? Ewart Keep
Chapter 10 Lifelong learning for civic employees and employable citizens?
Odd Bjørn Ure
Chapter 11 Making citizens: from belonging to learning
Terri Seddon and Suzanne Mellor
Chapter 12 Models of lifelong leaning and the knowledge economy/society in Europe: what regional patterns are emerging?
Chapter 13 Manufacturing the ‘European’
Chapter 14 Europe and the curriculum for teachers
3. The clash of transitions - Towards the learning society
Chapter 1. The clash of transitions.
Chapter 2. Is ‘learning society’ a credible concept in central and east European countries?
Chapter 3 Living up to Lisbon and the Europe of knowledge: policies for lifelong learning and the challenges for the transition countries
Chapter 4 Transitions from schooling to working life: some aspects of convergence and divergence across the expanding European Union
Chapter 5 Knowledge production and national innovation capacity in transition
Chapter 6 Learning challenges for social inclusion in transition economies
Adela- Luminita Rogojinaru
Chapter 7 Guiding learners / workers in the information / learning society: the situation in selected central and east European countries
Ronald G. Sultana
Chapter 8 Scenarios and strategies for vocational education and training and lifelong learning in Europe with a special attention to developments in central and east European countries
 The term 'policies' is understood to stretch from 'intentions' to concrete measures of implementation. 'Policies' are represented by laws, government programs, constitutions, decrees, whereas 'measures' are actions that put these intentions into practice (in various areas, to various degrees). EURONE&T aims at reflecting and mapping ‘learning related policies’ with respect to both aspects of the term.
For more information about other Briefing Papers on “New Perspectives for Learning” go to http://www.pjb.co.uk/npl/index.htm
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Last updated 28 June 2007