Main Goals of the Hungarian Lifelong Learning Strategy
For the period 2014-2020, the European Union required the development of a national policy framework strategy for the policy of lifelong learning as a precondition of utilizing the structural funds. (Government Decree 1603/2014 (XI.4.) Government Decree on adopting the Hungarian National Social Inclusion Strategy II, the Framework Strategy of the policy of lifelong learning, the Strategy of the Development of Public Education, and the Mid-term Strategy against Leaving School without Qualification.
Lifelong learning covers the whole lifecycle of a person from early socialisation and pre-school education until the period following the active age in terms of work. Lifelong learning focuses on the learning process and the individual needs and skills of the student. The comprehensive objectives of the framework strategy of lifelong learning aim to enhance the adaptation of the system of education and training to the principles of lifelong learning, the extension of the opportunities of learning outside the formal learning environments, lifelong development of skills and capacities, as well as the development, use and promotion of the tools enhancing the building of the system of lifelong learning.
The framework strategy of lifelong learning sets comprehensive orientation directions on the one hand for the educational and training subsectors (affected directly by learning and for the policy areas affected indirectly), and on the other hand, it intends to provide a strategic framework for the development of human resources.
The definition of lifelong learning used in the framework strategy applies the approach and definition prevailing in the European Union, i.e. irrespectively of the subsystems and sectoral areas, the strategy deals with topics closely related to the following areas:
- lifelong learning,
- increasing adaptation to the individual needs of the student,
- awakening learning motivation, providing a second chance,
- developing skills and capacities in accordance with the needs and age characteristics,
- enhancing the balance of learning possibilities and learning needs,
- spreading a new learning and innovative pedagogical culture.
The strategy has three comprehensive objectives: (1) increasing the participation in lifelong learning, improving accessibility, (2) consolidating the principles of lifelong learning in the educational and training system in adult learning, and (3) visibility and recognition of the value and outcomes of learning.
Increasing Participation in Lifelong Learning and Improving Access
The first comprehensive objective mainly covers the increase of participation in compensational learning activities outside the system of formal learning and the improvement of access to learning occasions.
The specific objectives basically match the social inclusion and labour market integration objectives that are also reflected in the areas of intervention. The target groups of the specific objectives are those disadvantaged groups -in terms of social or labour market aspects- which shall be provided with differentiated educational-learning support and for which the learning opportunities shall be extended. Such groups do not get sufficient motivation for learning, suffer from learning difficulties or earlier academic failure, and have a low educational level or no qualification. Their absence from learning is caused by the lack of basic competences required for lifelong learning, the lack of solvent demand for learning services, as well as by the insufficiency of supply targeting the social groups requiring the most support.
The first comprehensive objective targets four specific areas:
- The first aims to improve the life chances of disadvantaged persons and Roma through increasing their learning chances, improving their access to learning opportunities, and increasing their participation in learning. The programmes targeting the consolidation of basic competences and the attainment of basic skills appear in complex regional, inclusion and social programmes.
- The second specific objective aims to improve the employability of people who are in disadvantaged situation in terms of labour market opportunities – including Roma and disadvantaged workers –, as well as their labour market integration by education, training and learning.
- The third specific objective aims to improve the chances of school leavers without qualification, school drop-outs and of young people who are not present either in education or on the labour market. The return of young people and adults with low levels of education – maximum primary school - to the world of education and training, or their transition to the labour market shall be supported by developing motivating programmes – completion of the school or equivalent development of basic skills -, and by providing alternative learning opportunities offering a “second chance” for the attainment of professional qualification.
- The fourth specific objective is the development and support of non-formal and informal learning opportunities and e-learning, as well as workplace learning and trainings.
Consolidating the Principles of Lifelong Learning in the system of Education and Training and in Adult Learning
The second comprehensive objective aims to consolidate the principles of lifelong learning in the system of education and training. Among the obstacles of learning later on in life, the problem of access is only one of the bottlenecks, and the other similarly significant is the lack of motivation and skills, and therefore, it is very important how the education and training establishing the foundations of lifelong learning prepare the students and pupils for learning in later stages of life.
The second comprehensive objective contains five specific target areas:
- The first one aims at founding lifelong learning in early childhood and at school, at consolidating the training of basic skills and key competences, as well as at strengthening public education’s role in compensating disadvantages.
- The second one includes the preparation, continued professional development of teachers, instructors and trainers, as well as the increasing of their self-development capacities.
- The third one aims to consolidate the relationship between vocational training and economy, the world of work, to develop practical training, and to increase the effectiveness of vocational education and training.
- The fourth one targets the supporting of the diversification and differentiation of higher education, the enhancement of the attractiveness of higher education among 25-55-year old people, and the transformation of higher education according to the needs of the economy.
- The fifth one addresses the improvement of the effectiveness of adult training and the development of a support system of targeted adult training. The quality and effectiveness of adult training shall be developed in order to provide higher level, wider scale and more differentiated adult training services to the disadvantaged social groups by applying target group-tailored, competence centred programmes, curricula, teaching aids and methods built on professional requirements.
The Visibility and Recognition of the Value and Outcomes of Learning
The people who would most need it are the ones who are left out of the learning activities following school education and training. They often do not perceive the advantages of learning, they are not informed sufficiently about their learning opportunities, they cannot see the correlations between the outcomes of the learning activity and their social-economic benefits. The incentives of learning, the cost-sharing facilities motivating the individual’s learning activity are missing. The success of increasing participation in lifelong learning is also based on the individual’s motivation, the widening of the learning opportunities, as well as on the expansion of the aids of non-formal and informal learning.
Therefore, the third comprehensive objective aims at developing the incentive and supportive aids and services of learning.
The third comprehensive objective covers four specific target areas:
- the expansion of the system of learning incentives,
- the development of the quality and quality assurance, quality management of learning,
- the enhancement of the transparency, interdependency and structuring of learning paths, and the recognition of the previously attained knowledge and skills,
- career building and the development of career follow-up.
Implementation of the Framework Strategy
The framework strategy does not result in direct regulative steps, however, it is important that the legislative and structural measures of the sectoral policies would be in harmony with the principles and development objectives formulated in relation to the intervention areas of the strategy. The implementation of the framework strategy is principally performed through the measures of the Economic Development and Innovation Operational Programme and the Human Resources Operational Programme financed from the European Social Fund for the period 2014- 2020 Therefore, strong consistency is required between the implementation of the interventions of the framework strategy and the operational programmes in order to include the recommendations formulated in the framework strategy as integral parts of the development policy operational programmes of the period 2014-2020.
The lifelong learning measures related to the areas of social inclusion, public education, higher education and culture, community culture belong to the competence of the Ministry of Human Resources, while the lifelong learning measures related to employment, enterprises, infocommunication sector and vocational education, adult training are subject to the competence of the Ministry of Innovation and Technology.