21st Century Skills and why we need Lifelong learning.

First of all, why do we need Lifelong learning? Well, even without having to be told about it much, we all know that the social situation of competition, innovation and rapid change generated by globalization in a knowledge economy have led to the emergence of lifelong learning. People are frequently urged to return to learning, to get more qualifications and so on. Lifelong learning has become a new social movement aimed at human development and is something self-evidently good, something human beings must engage in if they want to grow, develop and, as a result, become useful members of society. Besides, we live in a rapidly changing world, where new, so called 21st century skills are expected from children as well as adults. Such skills combine learning and innovation skills such as critical thinking, communication, creativity, collaboration etc. All very useful in order to thrive in our modern, constantly changing world.

On the other hand, we are aware that there are good reasons why we should look critically at the Lifelong learning and these reasons, pointed out by academic writers, will forever prevent us from approaching this superficially self-evident good enthusiastically.

First of all, the driving force the introduction of lifelong learning is that employers demand an educated workforce in order to respond to a market that demands innovation and efficiency. Universities and colleges are being forced to enter the learning market and sell their commodities, so they are also looking for customers. Institutions of higher education are called upon to create skills, and no longer ideals. Nowadays, the transmission of knowledge is designed to supply the system with players capable of fulfilling their roles at the pragmatic posts required by its institution.

This train of thought brought me to the conclusion that the economy is the most important value in the social and economic life of the modern society. We feed the system we live in with our students and all the other means we have. Competing with the USA economy lead  to the birth of the EU,  our economy is now fighting to struggle with the Asian markets and all these reasons are putting pressure on individual citizens. This is why many consider lifelong learning to be nothing else, but a system of control. Because, if people are means to the economy than why should they be under such huge pressure to be flexible, offer flexicurity and suffer the individualization of a social issue such as this one. Most citizens consider their education only in terms of thinking about what the employer expects from them. In a nutschell: you’re in or you fall out. The final question I would like to pose is shouldn’t we adjust the economy to adapt better to humans rather than continue forcing citizens to adapt to the economy its constant need of flexibility, innovation and competition? After all, economy was invented to serve the people and not the other way around.

Finally, I would like to point out that lifelong learning is a very nobel and great movement and the EU is right to promote self-development of individuals to make the world a better place. However, is should not be considered an antidote to the economy.

Advertisements

2 responses to “21st Century Skills and why we need Lifelong learning.

  1. Reblogged this on Organizational and Institutional Change and commented:

    Mariam, I really like this post. It gives a nice overview of the positive effects of Lifelong Learning and what the negative effects could be. It reflects very much the way you talked about it in class and how you didn’t only saw the positive side of it. When you first said this, I as a bit confused. Because I thought, just like the American Colleagues, mostly only about the positive aspects. When thinking about Lifelong Learning personal improvement, progress and in general getting better at something came to my mind. Especially the age we live in, where everything is changing so fast. For example, my mother works in a publishing agency. She and her colleagues sometimes have to take classes on how to work with a tablet or other stuff like that. Only these kind of things came to my mind. I never really considered the controlling side of it. Maybe a bit naive of me. I still believe that the good out ways the bad here, but it is nice to the both of them so clearly explained.
    So it’s very interesting to see this other side to it you put in your blog posts. Thank you for that!

    Like

  2. Mariam, I really like this post. It gives a nice overview of the positive effects of Lifelong Learning and what the negative effects could be. It reflects very much the way you talked about it in class and how you didn’t only saw the positive side of it. When you first said this, I as a bit confused. Because I thought, just like the American Colleagues, mostly only about the positive aspects. When thinking about Lifelong Learning personal improvement, progress and in general getting better at something came to my mind. Especially the age we live in, where everything is changing so fast. For example, my mother works in a publishing agency. She and her colleagues sometimes have to take classes on how to work with a tablet or other stuff like that. Only these kind of things came to my mind. I never really considered the controlling side of it. Maybe a bit naive of me. I still believe that the good out ways the bad here, but it is nice to the both of them so clearly explained.
    So it’s very interesting to see this other side to it you put in your blog posts. Thank you for that!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s