Learning cities for a learning century : citizens and sectors - stakeholders in the lifelong learning community
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 authored by N Longworth
Even before September 11th, Governments in liberal democracies around the world were producing strategies and policies to promote Lifelong Learning. This is largely because learning throughout life is seen to be one of the most powerful imperatives for the future development of economic wealth, social stability and personal fulfilment in organisations and nations alike. Indeed, the concept of wealth is redefining itself to include all of these three aspects. And how much more is it now crucial to create, in and between each country, a learning society in which people of all faiths, creeds, races and backgrounds can understand and tolerate each others' point of view. But, however much governments may pontificate, the place where the action will happen is in the towns, regions and cities of each nation, and of course ultimately in the hearts and minds of their citizens. This explains the recent accelerating growth of 'Learning cities, towns and regions' throughout the world. But what is a learning community in that geographical sense? and how can it leave behind the era of education and training to proclaim a world in which learning throughout life is not only necessary, but is also a natural and enjoyable thing to do? It has huge implications - for the administrators, professionals, public servants and teachers who will have to implement the new Lifelong Learning strategies, and for the citizens themselves who are on the receiving end of new structures and ideas. The stakeholders in this new world - universities, schools, companies, local government, professional associations, cultural services, the media and, above all, individual citizens -will all need to play their different parts in making it happen. Similarly the domains isolated in the TELS (Towards a European Learning Society) project – partnerships, active citizenship, leadership, technology, celebration, wealth creation, social inclusion etc – are also being re-defined in the context of a new lifelong learning culture. This presentation will try to define some of those new roles and responsibilities within a vibrant and vigorous learning city environment, and mention some examples of research, projects and initiatives being undertaken in those organisations and communities leading the field.