The aspect of 'accessibility' in the light of European lifelong learning strategies: Adult education centres—a case study
The problems faced by a postmodern European Union, due to internationalisation of the economy, loss of competitiveness, rise in unemployment and negative demographic outcomes, call for transformations able to promote excellence in knowledge, technology and economic effectiveness, which also promote social cohesion. Thus, investment in human capital emerged as a core priority for European Union policies at the Lisbon European Council of 23 and 24 March 2000, providing for strategic goals to strengthen employment, economic reform and social cohesion. Within this framework, a new period of enhanced collaboration in education and training has been initiated among member states, committing them to a consistent strategy, with clear concrete objectives that accentuate aspects of openness and accessibility to adult education systems. This is expected to promote equal opportunities for all European citizens enabling them to participate in a 'knowledge-led society'. Hence, novel priorities have emerged for Greek educational policy. These have given prominence to lifelong learning and initiated the implementation of adult education centres in 2003 to meet the Lisbon goals. The present paper reports the findings of three case studies, relating to the promotion of openness and accessibility to learning opportunities throughout life. The research was launched in three adult education centres in northern Greece. The study attempted to assess strengths and weaknesses in their efforts to deliver educational services or activities to both citizens of urban and rural areas and to promote adult learning in a broader sense, in the light of the Lisbon mandate.
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