Archive for October, 2008

Lifelong Learning Charter by EUA – European University Association

October 29, 2008

From recent information release it should be noted that EUA has launched the first European Universities’ Charter on Lifelong Learning 25th October 2008.


The Charter, developed at the request of the French Prime Minister Francois Dillon, is based around a series of 10 commitments from universities in addressing the development and implementation of lifelong learning strategies, with a set of matching commitments for governments and regional partners to make.


The EUA Charter has been elaborated on the basis on extensive consultation, not only with EUA’s 800 member universities and 34 national Rectors’ Conferences, but also with a wide range of European stakeholder organisations – including students and business.


It calls on universities to make 10 clear commitments to lifelong learning:


·          Embedding concepts of widening access and lifelong learning in their institutional strategies.

·          Providing education and learning to a diversified student population.

·          Adapting study programmes to ensure that they are designed to widen participation and attract returning adult learners.

·          Providing appropriate guidance and counselling services.

·          Recognising prior learning.

·          Embracing lifelong learning in quality culture.

·          Strengthening the relationship between research, teaching and innovation in a perspective of lifelong learning.

·          Consolidating reforms to promote a flexible and creative learning environment for all students.

·          Developing partnerships at local, regional, national and international level to provide attractive and relevant programmes.

·          Acting as role models for lifelong learning institutions.


The EUA Charter also calls for concerted action from governments in providing the appropriate legal and financial frameworks to develop lifelong learning. It matches the 10 commitments from universities with an equal number of desired commitments from governments.


These include: promoting social equity and an inclusive learning society; including lifelong learning objectives in national QA systems; recognising prior learning; removing legal obstacles that prevent potential learners from responding to lifelong learning opportunities, ensuring the necessary university autonomy and incentives for universities; acting as role models in relation to their own employees.




Povl Tiedemann

October 2008




Lifelong Learning Certification – European Qualification Framework – in extendo…

October 9, 2008

There is considerable interest in certification of lifelong learning in the EC, the OECD and national governments in Europe. Clearly, much thinking has been undertaken on why the qualification of lifelong learning is desirable, and in what form such qualification should take to make it internationally useable.


The European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Policy on *1) indicates the Commission’s interest in creating a framework in which learning that has taken place in one country of the EU can be understood, through a framework of qualifications in others.


The OECD has produced a very well argued report about the importance of qualification in lifelong learning on *2) which is based on a new book from the OECD Qualifications Systems: Bridges to Lifelong Learning (OECD, 2007). 


At the national level, Lifelong Learning UK has produced a Lifelong Learning Qualifications Strategy on *3) and the UK Management Standards Centre is working on defining management skills and the qualifications that need to go reflect competence at those skills on *4).


Similar initiatives are under development in other EU countries.


In opposition to above some evidence has been identified concerning limited market interest for such a system – although – almost as a counter development to this, there is a growing experience (between business schools and companies) for students undertaking periods of work-based learning to be recognised for academic credit and to lead on to degree qualifications.


Allied to this, over the last two decades at least, is interest in the accreditation of prior learning (APL) and the accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL) for those already in work.


There is also the issue of professional body accreditations / qualifications and their increasingly demanding requirements for ‘continuing professional development’ (of which short courses at business schools might count) in order for managers to maintain their professional memberships and thus a ‘quasi’ licence to practice.


Thus there are at least five groups involved in this area comprising:


  • employers
  • employees
  • students
  • professional bodies
  • business schools


with the need for various roles, requirements, costs and benefits to be investigated and understood in greater detail.


In this respect it could be relevant to commence where standards are already established and where there might be natural grounds for further development, namely in the field of master’s programmes where qualifications may be made up of modules taken in different places and at different pace.


Inspiration could be taken from traditional exchange student programmes based on mutual recognition agreements between universities / business schools and their faculties. In this context CEMS – PIM and similar partnerships or consortia may contain valuable experience for further development of modularised credit and qualification accumulation and recognition.


For background information, please check:











Extracts from draft paper produced by EFMD-EQUAL Board Members:

Povl Tiedemann, Stephen Watson and Chairman Jonathan Slack


For further EQUAL position papers

please check:



Povl Tiedemann

October 2008