Turkey: Lifelong Learning Strategy Paper, issued in 2009

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Rationale of the strategy

The purpose of the Lifelong Learning Strategy Paper is to establish a lifelong learning system that responds to technological progress, transformations in the job market and other dramatic changes that are taking place in Turkish society. The education infrastructure must be strengthened and quality must be enhanced. The document includes a lifelong learning action plan.

Concept of lifelong learning

Lifelong learning is defined as any learning activities in which individuals engage at any time in their lives in order to develop their knowledge, skills, interests, qualifications and employment prospects. The aim of lifelong learning is to enable individuals to adapt to the information age and participate actively in all aspects of economic and social life. Lifelong learning comprises learning that takes place at home in early childhood; preschool learning; all stages of formal and non-formal education; learning acquired in working life; and knowledge and skills gained in any period of life.

Main challenges

  • Low literacy rate, particularly among women
  • Insufficient quality and quantity of schools
  • Insufficient teacher training personnel
  • Low rate of computer ownership and internet use, particularly in certain social groups
  • Insufficient services to help individuals choose subjects and programmes that match their interests, wishes, talents and qualifications
  • Need to restructure education system as a learner-centred system with a focus on lifelong learning
  • Need to determine the principles of national qualifications in technical and vocational areas and to carry out activities related to supervision, measurement, evaluation, documentation and certification based on national and international vocational standards

Main targets and measures

The policy refers to all educational sectors from early childhood to adult education. The strategy includes the following sixteen priorities, all of which fall under the general goal of promoting the concept of lifelong learning and facilitating access to quality learning by strengthening the lifelong learning infrastructure:

  • Issuing a legal regulation in which the duties and responsibilities of various parties with regard to coordinating lifelong learning are specified
  • Establishing a lifelong learning culture by increasing social awareness
  • Strengthening data collection systems for efficient monitoring, evaluation and decision-making
  • Increasing the literacy rate
  • Increasing enrolment at all levels of education, starting with basic education
  • Ensuring that education institutions’ physical infrastructure, number of teaching personnel and quality meet learners’ needs
  • Updating training programmes continuously and adapting them to changing needs
  • Using information and communication technologies appropriate for learners of different ages
  • Encouraging participation of disadvantaged individuals
  • Strengthening career guidance services under the scope of lifelong learning
  • Establishing a quality assurance system by activating a vocational qualifications system
  • Facilitating transitions between training programmes from school to work and from work to school
  • Ensuring labour quality reaches an internationally competitive level
  • Ensuring that the financing of lifelong learning is shared by the various parties
  • Increasing international cooperation and mobility under the scope of lifelong learning
  • Supporting lifelong learning activities in order to increase the participation of older people in social and economic life

Particular feature of the strategy

One of the priorities of the strategy is ‘using information and communication technologies appropriate for learners of different ages’. In order to achieve this objective, the action plan sets out the following measures:

  • Provision of internet access in schools and public institutions
  • Authorization of competent trainers
  • Increase of open access sources within the scope of e-learning implementation
  • Creating awareness of and demand for lifelong learning opportunities with a focus on information technologies
  • Provision of regulations and modalities in order to facilitate the individual use of information and communication technologies
  • Provision of educational media
  • Establishment of a national and international information network supporting lifelong learning
  • Transfer of experiences of academics in universities to formal and informal education facilities

Relevant documents that the strategy refers to:

  • European Commission. 1997. European Employment Strategy

Turkey. State Planning Organization. 2006. Ninth Development Plan 2007-2013

Stakeholders involved in the development of the strategy:

  • Ministry of National Education

Stakeholders responsible for implementation of the strategy:

  • Ministry of National Education
  • Ministry of Finance
  • Ministry of Labour and Social Security
  • Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology (former Ministry of Industry and Trade)
  • Ministry of Health
  • Turkish Accreditation Agency
  • Turkish Council of High Education
  • Turkish Labour Institution
  • The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey
  • Turkish Radio and Television Institution
  • State Planning Institution
  • Social Services and Child Protection Institution

Further readings and web links:

Issuing Body

Ministry of National Education