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Educational Disadvantage Centre

EU Project: LLL2010 - Towards a Lifelong Learning Society

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The Educational Disadvantage Centre in St Patrick's College has participated in a six year European Commission (FP6) funded project, Towards a Lifelong Learning Society: The Contribution of the Education System (2005-2011) culminating in an international conference, Do three sides always make a triangle? Policy, institutions and learners in lifelong formal learning which took place at the University of Leuven, Belgium from February 7th to 9th 2011

Dr Paul Downes, the Centre Director, gave a presentation The role of educational institutions for promotion of access to adults to formal education based on international research across 12 European countries led by the Educational Disadvantage Centre. Sue Waddington, President of the European Association for the Education of Adults, and the European Parliament's former Rapporteur for Lifelong Learning, was the Respondent to this presentation.

Dr Catherine Maunsell (Education Department, St Patrick's College) gave a presentation entitled Lifelong Learning for All? Policies and practices towards underrepresented and socially excluded groups, with Regina Ebner, Secretary-General of the European Association for the Education of Adults, being the Respondent. Both sessions were chaired by Marc Goffart from the Directorate General for Research and Innovation, of the European Commission.

The Educational Disadvantage Centre is responsible for overall leadership of Subproject 5 of the six year project. Subproject 5 concerns access to education for traditionally marginalized groups across 12 countries – Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, England, Estonia, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, Norway, Russia, Scotland, and Slovenia. A briefing paper, A Systems Level Focus on Access to Education for Traditionally Marginalised Groups, was presented by Dr Downes to European Commission officials from Directorate General (DG) Education and Culture, as well as DG Research and Innovation. This paper outlines a range of key policy recommendations for the European Commission in relation to access to education for those traditionally excluded from the education system.

The Educational Disadvantage Centre as part of a research consortium, is working in partnership with 12 EU member states and associated countries on an Integrated Project (LLL2010) a 3.2 million Euro overall funded project entitled ‘Towards a Lifelong Learning Society in Europe: The Contribution of the Education System’. Funded under the EU Sixth Research and Technological Framework Programme (Priority 7) the project has the following overall aims:

  • to develop and carry out a joint research agenda for a better understanding of the tensions between the knowledge-based society, lifelong learning and social inclusion in the context of enlargement of the EU and globalisation;
  • to provide an empirically based analysis of the adequacy of lifelong learning policies and practices in Europe and their implications for different social groups, especially for socially excluded groups;
  • to develop relevant policy proposals for lifelong learning strategies to decrease social exclusion on the European and national level and to identify their implications for relevant areas of social and economic policies.

    This research is being pursued as part of full-time post-graduate work leading to a Doctorate by research under the supervision of the Educational Disadvantage Centre. Set within the overall context of the enlargement of the European Union and increased globalisation, in pursuance of the Lisbon agenda and funded through the European Commission’s 6th Framework Research Programme, the research project LLL2010- Towards a Lifelong Learning Society in Europe: the Contribution of the Education System focuses on ‘the contribution of education system to the process of making lifelong learning a reality for all and its role as a potential agent for social integration within Europe’.

    The main aims and objectives of LLL2010 include: examining the effect of country-specific institutions on access of adults to the education system, assessing the effectiveness of access policies and practices across the participating EU member states, as well as in associated countries and ascertaining their implications for the creation of a European knowledge society alongside enhanced social cohesion across the European Union.

    Inclusive of the Educational Disadvantage Centre, St. Patrick’s College as the Irish partner, a total of fourteen research institutions comprise the LLL2010 research consortium, which is led by the Estonian team based at the University of Tallinn.

    The research teams represent EU member-states from Northern, Central, Western and Eastern Europe and associated states, accompanied by Russia. The differing historical, political, economic and cultural backgrounds of the participating member states and regions make the project consortium a particularly rich source of comparative data in terms of the conceptualisation and practice of lifelong learning across the European and in a wider international context.

    Having commenced in September 2005, the LLL2010 research project extends over five years, with the research tasks addressed using diverse methodologies, through five sub-projects. These sub-projects are outlined further in the links below.