Life and work skills for empowering adults to learn and participate
"I grow old, and I don't stop learning". Solon
Empowering adults to learn and create occurs through the realisation of the concept of lifelong learning. On the one hand, this concept represents an individual and, on the other hand, a social need. It is a product of the development of society, culture, and overall development of man. In this way, man becomes capable of solving the problems that have arisen. Therefore, it is clear why authors emphasise that education and learning are a preparation for life and the way of life of modern man. Taking this fact into consideration, all old theories and divisions of human life into learning (childhood and adolescence), work (adulthood and maturity) and retirement (old age - the third age) were rejected.
What life skills empower adults to learn? Are life skills universal in all parts of the world? Do we recognise changes in life skills in the 21st century? What are work skills for empowering adults to learn? Can life and work skills be viewed as isolated concepts?
There are many questions, many dilemmas, and we are aware of the growing importance of adult education, the concept of lifelong learning. The significance of it will undoubtedly grow in proportion to the increase in the importance of actual workability. Thus, there will come a time when formal education loses a priori priority.
The notion of competencies appears in the sea of questions regarding knowledge, skills, and attitudes we need for our development. This term represents "multifunctional packages of knowledge, skills and attitudes, necessary to all persons for personal achievement and development, inclusion and employment".
In 2006, the European Union defined eight key competencies or competencies for the 21st century:
• communication in the mother tongue, which implies the ability to express thoughts, feelings and facts, both in written and oral form and in different contexts;
• communication in foreign languages, which includes knowledge of different cultures, intercultural mediation and ability to cope with various situations in a foreign language;
• mathematical competence and the basics of science and technology, which means using mathematical operations in solving problems in everyday situations, as well as understanding and interpreting technology and nature that surrounds us;
• digital competence, i.e. the use of electronic media in work, communication and free time; this includes the ability to think logically and critically, manage information, and develop communication skills;
• learn how to learn, which includes the ability to organise and manage time, problem-solving and logical reasoning, the application of acquired knowledge in different contexts, including career development;
• social and civic competencies, which means the ability to communicate with individuals and groups, understand interlocutors and provide feedback, cooperate in communication and resolve conflicts in various situations;
• sense of initiative and entrepreneurship, which includes the competence to create one's innovations or accept others, accept responsibility for one's actions, the ability to develop a strategic vision and strategic planning, achieve goals and develop motivation to work;
• cultural awareness implies creative expression and evaluation of ideas, emotions, or experiences through music, literature, applied arts, etc.
We cannot but ask the extent to which our formal and non-formal education programmes align with the stated competencies, all for the concept of lifelong learning.
mr Marica Ognjenović
EPALE Ambassador, Montenegro