2018 Year of Lifelong Learning

A lifelong learning policy for Australia

Adult Learning Australia believes that lifelong learning must be the centrepiece of all education policies in order to promote a system that provides opportunities for Australians to adapt to the ever-changing economic and social landscape, and to continue to learn throughout their lives.

Technological advancement and globalisation have decreased the availability of low skilled jobs and increased the number of jobs that require higher levels of literacy. But a policy approach that is solely focussed on the skills required by industry fails to recognise the importance of learning in helping adults to adapt to and manage changing roles at work, in families and in communities.

Why a lifelong learning policy?

Australia does not have a formal lifelong learning policy. A lifelong learning policy would acknowledge learning beyond employment and re-skilling, and highlight its role in social mobility, community building and wellbeing.

2018 is the National Year of Lifelong Learning. To coincide with this, we are calling on the Australian government to adopt a formal policy on lifelong learning as an essential feature of an healthy, active democracy.

UNESCO framework

Adult learning and education (ALE) is a core component of lifelong learning. The UNESCO Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (2016) highlighted the contribution that ALE makes across many sectors of society, and that it is:

  • an indispensable component of education, and a fundamental and enabling human right
  • an integral dimension of a balanced life course
  • part of a holistic, inter-sectoral sustainable development agenda with the potential to offer multiple benefits and lasting impact.

Ministerial Declaration on ACE

Adult Learning Australia is also calling for a renewed Ministerial Declaration on ACE as part of the lifelong learning policy. The last Declaration on ACE was expressed in 2008 and a renewed commitment is now long overdue. A renewed Declaration would recognise adult and community education as a significant contributor in both accredited vocational education and training and non accredited education that fosters the skills people need to engage and participate fully in their communities and the economy.

How can you help?

By becoming an Adult Learning Australia member, you can play a key role in this important initiative.