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Learning - Throughout Life


The current economic crisis is presenting Germany’s policymakers with major challenges. By providing extensive credit and creating a stimulus package, the government is trying to stabilize the situation as best it can. Yet even if the stalled economy is bringing hardship to many companies and their employees, it also offers an opportunity to set an optimal course for the next upturn. In terms of employment policy, for example, experts are currently favoring an approach that uses part-time employment as a chance to improve workers’ professional qualifications.

For Germany to prosper, it must offer a political and social environment that is open-minded and predisposed toward innovation. It also needs highly qualified workers who are well acquainted with the latest products and services and are in a position to make use of them. If Germany wants to ensure its economic vitality and social cohesion, it must thus focus on tapping the potential of each individual by ensuring his or her ability and willingness to engage in lifelong learning. It therefore needs holistic approaches to learning and professional training if it wants to ensure that its workers remain employable and that they and the country as a whole prosper in the long run.

Until now, the concept of lifelong learning and the positive effects that result from it have not been clearly and effectively communicated in Germany in real terms. What does lifelong learning entail? What have communities throughout Europe done to promote it? Which advantages does it offer, both on a personal and a societal level?

With its Learning - Throughout Life project, the Bertelsmann Stiftung is focusing on the concept of lifelong learning at the individual level. Its key goals include:

  • making clear at a national and international level what lifelong learning involves in all its aspects and how it can be achieved most effectively
  • identifying untapped potential in the area of lifelong learning
  • creating background information, educational materials and monitoring tools and making them available to policymakers, practitioners and the public in a clear, concise manner
  • anchoring a positive, holistic understanding of lifelong learning and its importance for ensuring the employability of workers in all social segments over the long term


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