Learning is something that takes place across a variety of settings, both informal and formal, and across various points of time. This has always been a reality. The idea that learning ceases to occur after we step outside the gates of formal education settings gravely devalues all the learning that continues to transpire throughout life.
Learning is also something that people engage with for a variety of reasons; out of interest, to pursue a line of employment, to become more knowledgable on a topic, for community development, and out of joy.
Affording people the opportunity to pursue learning at any point, however, carries policy, institutional and practical implications. The implementation of effective lifelong learning policies at the national and local levels are crucial to afford each and all the opportunity to exercise their willingness and desire to learn throughout life, irrespective of financial means.
At the Seventh International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VII), the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) internationally launched its publication Making Lifelong Learning a Reality: A Handbook.
This publication provides information, evidence and basic conceptual models to facilitate the implementation of lifelong learning at national and local levels. It provides evidence from international experience and offers guidelines to operationalise lifelong learning in response of major sustainable development issues, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The Handbook is meant as both a source of inspiration and as a guide for policy-makers and for officials responsible for implementing lifelong learning policies.