"The aim of this article is to examine how EU lifelong learning policies are
trying to reach the vulnerable by looking at what measures against social
exclusion they offer and how equitable these measures are. It is a qualitative
study that focuses on policy documents that form the European Union’s legal
and political frameworks of reference in the lifelong learning area since 1992.
The document analysis has been complemented by semi-structured interviews
with EU lifelong learning experts. The findings show that early school
leavers and migrants are the main target groups in the policies, leavingmany
other groups at risk of being excluded from learning opportunities. There is
not enough attention to measures addressing wider social phenomena.
There is also an overemphasis on basic skills which are understood in a very
narrow way as literacy and numeracy when referring to the vulnerable. We
argue that a greater variety of measures as well as better targeted measures
are needed to address the multiple and complex needs of the vulnerable.
Such measures would allow a broader understanding of lifelong learning
where those that are hardest to reach are offered learning opportunities
independent of their personal and social circumstances
Keywords: Equity; social exclusion measures; lifelong learning; vulnerable groups; EU"
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