Fundació Jaume BofillUniversitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC)
Norman Longworth
Norman Longworth
Professor, UNESCO Consultant on Lifelong Learning

Former President of European Lifelong Learning Initiative, Former UNESCO Chair on Education and Technology, Manager of many European Commission projects on Learning Cities, PASCAL Associate, Author of well-known books on Lifelong Learning and Learning Cities/Regions, Author of European Commission's strategy paper on the Local and Regional Dimension of Lifelong Learning, Visiting professor at 6 European Universities. Consultant to UNESCO Institute on Lifelong Learning's International Platform on Learning Cities. Married. Living in the South of France.

Las 3 cosas que he aprendido

1

That the 2 most important populations who should know about Lifelong Learning neither know nor care about it. These are schoolteachers and politicians.

Many of my friends and acquaintances are schoolteachers. Many of them now are retired. When they ask what my books are about I reply Lifelong Learning and Learning Cities. For the vast majority of them a look of puzzlement comes over their faces. The unspoken question is 'What's that? But they know that they should know - after all its about learning, It's the lifelong bit that flummoxes them. As for politicians, perhaps the less said the better. Just look at the latest 'back to the 19th century' school curriculum produced by the British Minister of Education. All information/knowledge based, nothing about how children learn. Objective - more turn-offs, more failures.
2

That the places where lifelong learning will take off are the towns and cities of every country, and that is where the focus should be - on Learning Cities, Towns and Regions

More people are living in cities than ever before. They are becoming the new arbiters of the economic, social and environmental future for all their citizens, the engines of institutional and human development. This is where the resources need to be unlocked, not just financial (though that is important) but the talents, knowledge, experience, intellect and ideas of all the people for all the people. Additionally, by linking towns and cities around the world there is the possibility of unleashing great quantities of new resources that will take lifelong learning to new levels. A Utopian dream perhaps, but technology makes it possible - all that is lacking is the vision, the will, the leadership and the methodology. That's just one of the objectives of UNESCO's International platform for Learning Cities, informed by PASCAL among others, and to be launched in October in Beijing.
3

That the implementation of Lifelong Learning and Learning Cities often depends on key figures, When they are replaced or retire, the momentum for meaningful change sometimes fades.

Lifelong Learning is a cradle to grave activity. Contrary to the belief of many National and Local Governments it is not about providing adults with access to further education and professional development. This is why cities and towns need 'champions' - people with vision, power and commitment who can make things happen. These people are few and far between. Some cities have used them, but when their influence fades for whatever reason, so often does the cause. The International Platform for learning cities acts as set of principles and objectives for establishing lifelong learning but there will still be a need for a good supply of talented and powerful individuals to supply the continuing momentum.
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