Thinking differently, together: Towards a lifelong learning society
The new issue of the International Review of Education – Journal of Lifelong Learning (IRE) considers lifelong learning in all its manifold dimensions, from primary and secondary school to higher education, adult continuing education, non-formal adult education and prison education, in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals and other critical global challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
The introduction to the new issue highlights some of the challenges our societies face and considers how lifelong learning can help us address them.
Noting the intimate link between individual behaviour and group risk, it argues that the current public health crisis is also an opportunity – albeit a fleeting one – to restore and strengthen our commitment to the common good, address long-standing structural inequalities, and radically rethink areas of social policy, including education, in terms of public rather than private good.
One positive outcome of the crisis could be a major revaluation of what education is for and how fairly its benefits are distributed, and a serious re-examination of whether national systems of education, as they are currently constituted (and funded), can deliver on their increasingly tired-looking promises to alleviate poverty and inequality.
The issue calls on everyone involved in education not only to think differently but to think together in forging a future that is fair, safe, inclusive and sustainable.