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The FEDE, partner of the 
2nd LifeLong Learning World Committee 
held in Shanghai on 22nd and 23rd July 2010

The highlights of this committee by Fabrice Lachenmaier, European affairs advisor at the FEDE.

Shanghai (China). July 2010. The 2nd LifeLong Learning World Committee settles in the French pavilion of the auditorium, in the heart of the universal exhibition site whose motto is « Better town, better life »[1]. Yves Attou, chairman of the world Committee organiser of the event welcomes the fifty participants from around the globe to discuss around 5 successive sessions the stakes, the networks, the learning regions, the learning companies and the future of lifelong learning systems.

First of all, why a lifelong learning world committee [2]?

The main question is to know how to link all the learning sequences keeping in mind that in a knowledge society, everything can be an opportunity to learn. In order to clarify this notion, networks must be developed as well as partnerships. These human and social resources, beyond borders and cultures, will enable us to give life to this concept and try to operate it in the most precise way. Widely gathering all the agents of lifelong learning, with no exception, in every country of every continent is the first step of this action-research and reflection project.

We will need to encourage:

  • taking into consideration the global nature of people in a collective dimension, in view of the learning situations partitioning
  • giving value to every moment in life to learn, including the time spent at school or training
  • considering actions as formative by giving priority to actuating positions to learn
  • taking into account the context: each country can develop answers to its knowledge and skills needs on its own, by taking inspiration in what other countries do..

So, learning: ... anywhere, by oneself, by others, by the environment, in actions, from and through experiences, at all ages of life.

That is the motto of this learning world committee. Learning anywhere, …so why not Shanghai, for a better life in a better city precisely. Shanghai, world megalopolis with 20 million inhabitants, 5,000 towers and sky-scrapers, 20,000 permanent construction sites… Economic capital of China, it is a city that has had a tradition of opening to the world for a long time, even though it was muzzled during the advent of the popular republic of China, today it has regained its place as a financial and cultural centre in Asia. 

If Shanghai has found its place in the world again, the fact remains that the world is now a global village. Yves Attou, chairman to the world Committee wonders what becomes of the person learning in such a village. Before an audience of people from various parts of the world, European and Chinese, in the French pavilion of the Shanghai universal exhibition, he continues his reflection: "For us (the World Committee), a global educational revolution is under way. It challenges the traditional systems of learning and training. As a result of digitisation and globalisation, a "lifelong learning planet" enables much of the world's citizens to access knowledge in all places and at all times. The question of education is no longer limited to pupils and students estimated at 1.4 billion worldwide, it concerns 6.8 billion learners from early childhood to late life, including 770 million illiterate people. This "learning planet" is composed of cross-border arrangements that combine education in the presence of a teacher, online learning, self-learning, digital libraries, electronic tutoring, online orientation, remote assessment ... »

This exceptional meeting in an exceptional city is articulated around 5 sessions:

The opening ceremony was presided by Lu Haihung from the Chinese Agency of education development strategy and by Regina Huang, vice-president of Shanghai University.

The first session on the stakes of education throughout life, animated by Carolyn Medel-Anonuevo, assistant director of Unesco for lifelong learning, enabled specialists such as Nélida Cespedes Rossel, president of the Latin American Adults Education Council, or Mohamed Marzougui, Tunisian academic, writer of many articles about alphabetisation to speak. Hélène Bezille, professor in educational sciences emphasized “the necessary reflexivity of learners (self-expertise in our relationship to knowledge)” insisting on the fact that “learning is a part of life”.

The second session dealt with the impact of networks in the learning process throughout life. They are everywhere: in institutions, alongside them, serving communication, information or learning? The expansion of networks allowed communities to meet and build a “new web of network” in the society of knowledge. Learning in networks, in the current global context, isn’t utopia anymore but comes under social progress where everyone can find a place in mutual exchanges and enrichment. In order to deal with this subject, Denys Lamontagne (Canada), Thot Cursus director, Jean Bertsch, director of the French Europe Education Training agency and Catherine Othaburu from the European Federation of Schools gave a few elements to underline the evolution of networks and ask the essential question of their effectiveness. These networks multiply without necessarily pooling. The solution, proposed by Jean Bertsch, would be constituting “meta-networks”. On the other hand, the representative of the FEDE explains that “in order to live in a network, it necessary to look into collaborative work, to want to be involved, and to integrate and accept competition”. 

The third session was about territories and their role in lifelong learning. A learning territory should pool the effective skills, especially in countries with high disparity and social inequalities. Such a country should also ensure equilibrium between urbanisation and desertification, wealth and poverty… To approach this issue, François Deluga, president of the National Centre of Local Civil Service presented the actions undertaken by his organisation to modernise the proximity local public utility, using the flowering of agents in an adapted training course, highlighting that 100,000 territorial civil servants are illiterate. Gui Lin, general vice-secretary of the association for the education of adults in Shanghai then Makoto Suemoto, professor at the Kobe University in Japan illustrated these words with examples of policies undertaken in every country to encourage the reinforcement of lifelong education.

The fourth session called to learning companies under the management of Christian Forestier, general administrator of the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts. With Muriel Morin and Angel Cheong from the GDF Suez group as well as Jean Kaspar, vice-president of the International Social Observatory, Carlos Polenus, high-adviser on Chinese affairs at the International Trade Union Confederation (Belgium) and Yves Hinnekint, director of Opcalia, the discussion focused on the context of globalisation which encourages multinational companies to streamline their training policies and invest in the field of knowledge engineering. In France, training expenses are divided as follows: 4.4 billion from the regions, 4.3 billion from the State and 12 billion from companies. Undeniably, scientific and technical knowledge are at the heart of the development of companies whatever their size. 

The fifth session, probably the most interesting dealt with the future of lifelong education and training. Lifelong learning is now accepted by everyone involved in education. Yet, there is no correct device linking all the learning opportunities from birth to the end of life.  National governments, who have skills in education and training, particularly fighting illiteracy, are faced with the emergence of digital tools that pay no heed to borders. The current changes interact and embody to a “World educational revolution”. This session chaired by Lu Haihong was animated by Dominique Groux, professor in the sciences of education, specialised in comparative education. To conclude, three tracks were suggested: unite formal and non-formal education, recognise the validation of professional knowledge, and address the issue of the learner’s motivation. From Yves Attou’s point of view,  it is also necessary to try and “conceptualise and formalise lifelong education without restricting it to the training of adults, promote the diversification of entities involved (companies, unions, schools…) recognise that there is a global movement to decentralise training policies in territories and that we are among an educational Revolution which is implementing a new order that is both global and local with the establishment of networks that span borders and the educational contents set by the States.”

If the educational world revolution is in place, an unshakeable pillar remains: as Confucius said: “Constantly go over what you already know. Consider always something new. Then you will become a Master ».

[1] The 1st Forum was held in the Unesco premises in Paris. The 3rd is to be held in Marrakech in 2012.


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