On 23 November 2012, Luxembourg’s Government council approved a White Paper on Luxembourg’s strategy for Lifelong Learning, which was subsequently proposed by the minister of Education. The strategy aims at creating a coherent framework for lifelong learning and is supported by the main stakeholders in the field.
Principles and measures of the strategy for Lifelong Learning
As described in the White Paper, the Lifelong Learning strategy is a policy of education and training based on 6 transversal principles centred on the learner. The strategy proposes 8 measures that aim at creating an environment conducive to each learner’s professional and personal development.
The White Paper merely lays down the general orientations of the strategy, leaving the parties concerned free to determine a concrete action plan.
The 6 principles of Luxembourg’s strategy for Lifelong Learning
- Developing and promoting learning processes adapted to the various stages of life
- Placing the learner at the centre of the learning process while promoting environments conducive to learning
- Supporting the learners in their educational and vocational choices through coordinated and professional guidance
- Establishing a transparent and permeable certification system that includes transferable learning units
- Systematically developing the quality of lifelong learning
- Encouraging the participation in lifelong learning through the development of measures that facilitate access for all and by raising the individual’s awareness of their rights to training throughout life.
The 8 measures
- Implementing Luxembourg’s National Qualifications Framework (CLQ; Cadre luxembourgeois des qualifications)
- Adapting the Lifelong Learning framework to the learner’s life cycle
- Adjusting the Lifelong Learning framework to the diversity of Luxembourg’s society
- Concentrating all information on Lifelong Learning on a single platform
- Developing the quality of adult education
- Professionalising lifelong guidance
- Helping the individuals to take responsibility for their educational and vocational choices
- Creating a Consultative Commission for Lifelong Learning.
Each measure is accompanied by a series of recommendations for its implementation.
Towards the implementation of the strategy
During a first period, from 2013 to 2014, the Consultative commission for Lifelong Learning set up an action plan for the implementation of the different strategy measures, together with the relevant stakeholders.
The commission is composed of the following public stakeholders:
- Ministry of Education, Children and Youth, Ministry of Higher Education and Research, Ministry of Family Affairs and Integration
- Professional chambers (chamber of Agriculture, chamber of Commerce, chamber of Employees, chamber of Trades, chamber of Civil Servants and Public Employees)
- National Institute for the Development of Continuous Vocational Training (INFPC), a public establishment under the parent Ministry of Education, Children and Youth (MENJE).
In January 2015, the Consultative commission for Lifelong Learning resumed its work, which had been interrupted due to a change in Luxembourg’s government. Under leadership of the ministry of Education, the commission decided to pursue the Consultative commission's activities while reactivating the working groups that had been foreseen.
Five groups had been working on the following topics:
- Validation of prior experience
- Accreditation of organisations, of training programmes and non-formal certifications
- Access to training
- Trainers’ training
- Diploma for access to higher education (DAES).
In the course of the year 2016, the conclusions of the working group on the DAES had been finalised.
The findings were not only translated into legal text, but also implemented in the form of a training programme proposed at the Second chance school (today called ENAD - National School for Adults).This programme started in school year 2016/17.
As to the conclusions of the other working groups, their outlines were due to be discussed and approved by the Consultative commission and the findings transposed into legislation in the course of 2017.
With the learner at the centre of the process, including individual prior competences obtained in formal, non-formal and informal learning situations, the system allows learners to increase and enhance their personal and professional competences. They will thus take active responsibility for improvement, while being fully integrated in the labour market. The objective of the system is to construct learning paths that will recogniselearning outcomes obtained and accumulated by individuals in various contexts.
In the light of this, the Consultative commission reviewed the procedure of VAE (validation of acquired experience), in particular with regard to its capacity to respond to individual needs. A credit system allows learners to have their units of outcomes recognised irrespective of the context of acquisition, whether through formal or non-formal learning activities.
The purpose of a VAE procedure is always the obtainment of a formal certification. This implies mutual trust and understanding among the institutions and establishments implied. For this reason, the Lifelong Learning strategy plans to implement procedures of accreditation for both the providers of education and training and their products (the training units and qualifications they propose). The accreditation of educational provision will also offer the learners a reliable quality guarantee of the training they take.
Other measures fostering Lifelong Learning
Even in the years preceding the adoption of the White Paper, lifelong learning policy had been developing dynamically.
A few examples of this development:
- A procedure for the validation of non-formal and informal learning (VAE; validation des acquis de l'expérience) has been introduced. Between its entry into force in spring 2010 and August 2013, there were 743 eligible dossiers introduced, and 151 persons benefitted from a partial or complete validation of their competences
- Learning opportunities for adults with low levels of basic skills are continuously expanded and education providers in this field are intensifying their cooperation. In 2013, the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth organised awareness-raising activities for institutions in contact with potential learners and for the general public (www.abcd.lu). These activities have been complemented by basic digital skills courses (knowledge and use of digital tools, e-learning)
- As from the academic year 2006/07, the Ministry of Education offers a new possibility of attaining a secondary school leaving diploma: a blended-learning correspondence course,the eBac (today called eCampus), consisting of 75 % distance learning via Internet and 25 % face-to-face courses. This solution allows greater flexibility than traditional evening classes, and thus responds to adult learners’ time and mobility constraints
- Since January 2008, the individual training leave(congé individuel de formation) helps employees attend courses, prepare and pass examinations, prepare dissertations or accomplish all kinds of other work related to an eligible course, while keeping their job and drawing their salary.
The lifelong learning offer is constantly being adapted to best meet the changes in society:
- The University of Luxembourg Competence Centre set up in 2018 aims at building the capacity and enrich skills through training programmes and studies. It is aimed at individuals, employees, people with liberal professions and jobseekers
- UniPop (Université Populaire Luxembourg) complements formal education and offers a wide range of training for adults since 2021.