Lifelong Learning

Lifelong Learning (LLL) is an important concept in today’s knowledge economy. For some vulnerable groups it is not that simple to engage in lifelong learning, however. People with a background of migration and/or low socioeconomic status, especially, have a low participation rate in LLL.  Politics and society are more than ever holding these groups themselves responsible for this problem. The Centre for Family Studies, however, is convinced that our educational system has some structural problems that discourage people continuing their education at a later age and, consequently, fosters inequality. The centre is advocating inclusive education as a means of participation and emancipation.

The Bachelor programme in Family Studies is itself a unique example of how every year a few hundred adults put lifelong learning into practice. The study programme is very emancipatory. For many students this programme signifies a second chance at an education and a lot of students who don’t meet the degree requirements for enrolment, gain access to the programme through an entrance assessment. From the nineties onwards students with few study experiences were stimulated to take part in  the Bachelor programme, by offering them extra classes and installing a mentor programme.

Moreover, the Bachelor programme and the centre have developed various initiatives aimed at stimulating the participation and social inclusion of vulnerable students in the educational system. ‘Diversi-Date’, for example, is an annual project in which some 150 high-school students with diverse backgrounds are invited on campus to discuss topics such as identity and ideology in an informal setting. ‘Firmly off the Mark’ is an ESF-funded project that offers a flexible programme and intense guidance to students who feel impeded by their language, culture or prior education to pursue higher education but are otherwise motivated and capable to do so.

FAMCOMPASS (Family Competences Portfolio), lastly, is an instrument that can be applied to measure and validate ‘family competences’. These are competencies that someone acquires as an educator, partner and caretaker in their family and that are often disregarded in the formal assessment of competences. Mapping out these competencies can encourage individuals who are considering an educational programme to take the plunge.

In the future the knowledge centre and bachelor programme will continue to engage in the societal debate regarding lifelong learning and to develop projects and innovations that offer structural solutions to make the educational system more inclusive.

Vision 2020 Supporting vulnerable groups

Methods to improve inclusion in lifelong learning and employment

European project in the Leonardo da Vinci program.

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Vision 2020 Supporting vulnerable groups


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