Germany: Strategy for Lifelong Learning (STRATEGIE FÜR LEBENSLANGES LERNEN), issued in 2004

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Definition of lifelong learning

Lifelong learning consists of all formal, non-formal and informal learning in various learning venues from early childhood to retirement. Learning itself is understood as constructive processing and the transformation of information and experiences to knowledge, insights and competencies.

Aims of the strategy

The strategy aims to: integrate and acknowledge informal learning, develop competencies, connect various educational agents, provide educational counselling, promote a new learning culture as well as a fair and equal access to education. These objectives are connected with different phases of life; childhood, adolescence, adulthood and older age. Lifelong learning is to be promoted as a self-evident feature of each individual’s educational biography.

Main challenges:

  • Children: diverse family circumstances; various perceptions concerning parental responsibility in education; the parents’ wish for compatibility of family and career; integration of all groups;
  • Youth: schools play an essential role in life; little practical orientation; stronger affinity towards individualisation; diversity of milieus; determining factor of the parents’ educational background;
  • Young adults: transition to adulthood is often viewed as a completion of the learning process; strong influence of social milieus;
  • Adults: learning takes place outside of formal institutions and therefore depends a lot on individual self-motivation; adulthood characterised by major life events;
  • Older people: integration of the elderly; elderly often seen as a burden to the welfare state.

Main targets and measures:

  • Publishing a common education report by German federal and state governments;
  • Agreeing on coherent standards;
  • Founding an institute for quality development in the educational sector;
  • Agreeing on concrete action fields for quality assurance;
  • Monitoring of lifelong learning strategies in the counties by conducting a survey;
  • Conducting a study about examples of good practice.

Particular features of the strategy:

  • Annex 1 of the document displays results of a survey about lifelong learning in the federal government and states (by Deutsches Institut für Erwachsenenbildung, DIE). Organisational units on county and country levels were interviewed about several topics such as their strategies and concepts, public relations for lifelong learning, etc. The report on the survey’s results is a strong seventy-three-page document;
  • Annex 2 of the document illustrates examples of good practice (by DIE). The study presents a selection of existing lifelong learning projects that can be understood as good practice. Selection is based on results of the survey in Annex 1, where the projects were mentioned. The structure is orientated on the different age groups: children, youth, young adults, adults, older people and on the development priorities of lifelong learning. This includes the integration of: informal learning, self-regulated learning, capacity building, networking, modularising, counselling, popularisation of learning, and providing equal opportunities in education access.

Stakeholders involved in the development of the strategy:

Stakeholders responsible for implementation of the strategy:

  • Federal government
  • Federal states governments

Further readings and web links:

Issuing Body