Seminar on LLL – Prague 2008

prague_1EURASHE organised a Seminar on Lifelong Learning (LLL) titled ‘Lifelong Learning at Institutes of Professional Higher Education‘ in Prague (Czech Republic) on 16-17 October 2008. It is organised by EURASHE and the Czech Association of Schools of Professional Higher Education (CASPHE). Underneath are further information on:

(Photograph: CC by by Roman Boed)

Following is the programme of the event:

Day 1 – Thursday 16 October 2008

13.00 – Registration for Seminar attendants and contributors

14.00 – LLL policy and developments: diversity of views

Welcome address by the hosting country and hosting institution (Lars Lynge Nielsen, President of EURASHE; Václav Vinš, director of higher education department, Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports)

Priorities and strategy of the French presidency to EU as regards LLL in Higher Education (French government representative)

14.50 – Lifelong Learning within the Bologna Process, trends & developments.

Specific features of Lifelong learning at Institutions of PHE. EURASHE policy principles (Stefan Delplace, Secretary General of EURASHE)

Qualification Requirements of European Labour Market and Higher Education Graduates (Jan Koucký, director of the Education Policy Centre, Charles University)

Quality Assurance in Lifelong Learning (Kauko Hämäläinen, Professor at the University of Helsinki)

16.40 – Group discussions

Lifelong learning policy and strategy at European and national levels – developments, trends, expectations, respecting diversity of missions & roles.

Draft of the European Universities’ Charter on Lifelong Learning

17.40 – Summary from the group discussions

19.30 – Reception (buffet) at the Mirror Hall of the Ministry of Education


Day 2 – Friday 17 October 2008

09.30 – Responding to diversity of needs: the visions of stakeholders

Czech strategy of Lifelong Learning and additional focus on short cycle higher education in the Czech Republic (Zdeněk Somr, vice-president of the Economic Chamber of the Czech Republic; Michal Karpíšek, CASPHE, EURASHE vice-president)

New approaches in co-operation between employers and HEIs in the UK (Derek Longhurst, director of the Foundation Degree Forward)

Students’ testimonial from a student representative (Ján Říha, ESU/Student Chamber of the Council of HEIs, Czech Republic)

11.20 – Coffee/tea break

11.50 – Flexible learning paths: Interaction with labour market, recognition of prior learning, new ways and methods…

Example of a national approach to LLL at PHE sector: Irish Institutes of Technology’s experience and intentions (Richard Thorn, Institutes of Technology Ireland)

New dimensions in Higher Education regarding flexible learning paths (Liesbeth Hens, Flemish Ministry of Education)

Dutch examples of pilots with Associate degree & Recognition of prior learning (Hans Daale, DASHE/EURASHE)

12.50 – Discussion

13.00 – Lunch

14.00 – Institutional experience with LLL & Recognition of Prior Learning

Group discussions (country cases: France, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, etc.)

Experience with LLL at individual institutions throughout Europe

Recognition of prior learning; Approaching new clientele; Transfers between the different levels

15.00 – Summary from group discussions, Discussion/forum

15.20 – Seminar conclusions

Lifelong Learning at Institutes of Professional Higher Education


The Prague seminar on lifelong learning organised by EURASHE (16-17 October 2008) represented a valuable opportunity for its members to meet and discuss the various key issues that threaten the development and implementation of a coherent lifelong learning strategy in Europe at the moment, while also exchanging good practice and reinforcing ideas of future cooperation. The contributions to the seminar clearly expressed what the purposes of lifelong learning should be in the current European and global context. That is to say the lifelong learning should represent a major instrument of contribution to the development of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), while also contributing to the development of the national and European knowledge economy through provision of skilled and flexible labour force. Its contribution to the full development of the individual as an active member of a democratic society was also taken into account.

The main conclusion of the seminar can be summarized by citing the unanimous reaction coming from governments, institutions and faculty, together stating that “we” (i.e. the European society, in the form of governments and institutional practice) “are not prepared” [for the challenges that need to be faced when developing a lifelong learning strategy]. These challenges can take on multiple forms: conflicting economic interests (enrolment vs. quality), inadequate legislation (e.g. age discrimination or closed doors between sectors of higher education) etc.

In order to better deal with these challenges, a number of recommendations have been issued at the end of the seminar, summing up ideas expressed by speakers during their presentations. The recommendations cover a broad range of aspects, stressing the necessity for lifelong learning measures to be applied on both institutions and faculty members, the need for adequate funding as well as adequate recognition, the need for quality assurance to be conducted through assessment of learning outcomes related to the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) and documented through ECTS/ECVET. The participants also focused on the benefits a breakdown of programmes to shorter learning periods within one common qualification framework could bring. Common principles and guidelines for recognition of prior learning for all sectors of higher education were brought into discussion, together with the necessity for flexible learning paths, improved counselling and a quality assurance framework common to all sectors of higher education and development oriented, rather than control oriented. The involvement of all stakeholders at the level of lifelong learning should now represent an essential condition for its development. Of equal importance are a common European methodology, as well as the need for related research throughout the entire coninuum of higher education (which should contain research methodology included in programmes from the earliest stages).

These recommendations are currently summarizing the main aspects which deserve more consideration when thinking about implementing lifelong learning in one’s institution or at a national level. The fact that they have not yet been covered by appropriate measures seems to confirm the general opinion expressed above by our members, namely that “We are not prepared”. To which the answer given by Lars Lynge Nielsen, president of EURASHE, came naturally: “So let’s help them!”.

Following are the speakers of the event:

  • Lars Lynge Nielsen - Born 1948, Copenhagen, Denmark. Holds an MA in Psychology from the University of Copenhagen. Lars Lynge Nielsen joined EURASHE in 1998. Previously he held a number of senior positions in... Read more
  • Richard Thorn - Richard is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin (he holds Bachelor and Doctorate degrees in science) and the Institute of Public Administration (MA in Public Management).  He has published over... Read more
  • Václav Vinš - Václav Vinš was director of the higher education department at the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.
  • Derek Longhurst - Derek Longhurst is Emeritus Professor at Staffordshire University and director of the Foundation Degree Forward.
  • Liesbeth Hens - Liesbeth Hens is a deputy director at the Higher Education Policy Unit of the Flemish Ministry of Education and Training. At present the most important topics she’s working on are:... Read more
  • Hans Daale - Hans Daale is general manager of LEIDO, an independent network in the Netherlands, involved in lifelong learning. One of the most important tasks of LEIDO is to organise national and... Read more
  • Jan Koucký - Jan Koucký, Director of the Education Policy Centre at the Faculty of Education, Charles University in Prague (Czech Republic) focuses on the relationship between education and the broader social and... Read more
  • Kauko Hämäläinen - Kauko Hämäläinen is the former director of Palmenia Centre for Continuing Education (Finland).
  • Ján Říha - Ján Říha was the President of SK RVŠ and Chairperson of the Student Chamber of the Council of Higher Education Institutions in the Czech Republic.
  • Zdeněk Somr - Zdeněk Somr has been Vice-President of the Economic Chamber of the Czech Republic.
  • Stefan Delplace - Stefan Delplace became the Secretary General of EURASHE in 2004, a position he occupied until 2014. He represented in the Bologna Follow-Up Group and several of its working and coordination... Read more
  • Following are the practicalities of the event:


  • Czech Association of Schools of Professional Higher Education (CASPHE) - Sdružení profesního terciárního vzdělávání (SSVS) The Czech Association of Professional Higher Education (CASPHE) is an independent organisation of colleges and institutes of professional higher education in the Czech Republic. It... Read more
  • European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE) - EURASHE is the European Association of Institutions in Higher Education that offer professionally orientated programmes and are engaged in applied research within the Bologna cycles. EURASHE represents universities of applied sciences... Read more