EUROlocal reinforces the EC policy on lifelong learning regions by collecting the tools, strategies, learning materials, reports and everything concerned with their development.
The essence of the EUROlocal project is collaborative and interactive. The partners continue to make significant contributions to the development of the concept and practice of the learning region in their own right. EUROlocal represents an easily-accessible resource for local initiatives to the collective experience and knowledge resulting from these pan-European efforts. As well as connecting the ongoing learning region activities of its principal stakeholders, EUROlocal constantly seeks input and feedback from new and prospective entrants through its Dynamic Survey of European Learning Regions.
The term ‘Learning Region’ is commonplace in the lifelong learning debate. This is logical - they are a key plank of EC policy - places where lifelong learning is implemented. The EC definition is 'A city, town or region which recognises and understands the key role of learning in the development of prosperity, stability and personal fulfilment, and mobilises all its resources creatively to develop the full human potential of all its citizens.’ These resources include both people and organisations - VET, HEIs, SME's, local authorities, schools and adulted, all key stakeholders in a learning region.
Activity abounds. PENR3L's Limerick Declaration identified economic, social and environmental indicators distinguishing learning cities and regions. Germany is covered by more than 75 learning regions, UK and Finnish national learning city networks boast 100+ members and the EC has itself supported projects and programmes to create learning regions, notably the R3L programme, TELS, LILLIPUT, INDICATORS, PALLACE, LILARA, PENR3L and others. Outside of Europe learning cities and regions are burgeoning in China, South Korea, Australasia and in other continents. All this effort has produced data, tools, indicators, reports, videos, projects, recommendations, plans, strategies, learning materials - a wealth of potentially valuable knowledge for EU regions that urgently needs to be brought together in one place and made available to them. There is a clear qualitative difference in a learning region, and yet research shows that in many places there is little awareness or action. In EUROlocal, the team at the University of Glasgow, which has been at the forefront of learning city and region development over ten years, will lead other networks in gathering together all European knowledge and practice in this area from all sources across all sectors and countries. Partners will test the tools, find the best practice, dynamically organise it in an interactive website, produce learning materials, and actively disseminate and exploit it to effect a transformation of Europe's regions. The impact this would have on regional economies and social well-being is huge.
Objectives of the EC Lifelong Learning Programme addressed by EUROlocal
To contribute to the development of quality lifelong learning and to promote high performance, innovation and a European dimension in systems and practices in the field.
EUROlocal reinforces the EC policy on lifelong learning regions by collecting the tools, strategies, learning materials , reports and everything concerned with the development of learning regions, putting them into an innovative web site that all regions can access, and actively marketing the qualitative benefits of becoming a European learning region. Its workshops promote trans European cooperation .
To support the realisation of a European area for lifelong learning.
The availability of the all knowledge on learning cities and regions and its active marketing by a multiplicity of networks throughout Europe and through the website and workshops will do much to help the continent progress more rapidly towards a European lifelong learning area. The project could lead to the development of a new version of the policy document on learning regions to replace the original, written by the project advisor in 2001. This will be included in the recommendations.
To reinforce the contribution of lifelong learning to social cohesion, active citizenship, intercultural dialogue, gender equality and personal fulfilment.
The commission definition of a learning region is one 'which recognises and understands the key role of learning in the development of prosperity, stability and personal fulfilment, and mobilises all its resources creatively to develop the full human potential of all its citizens.' EUROlocal is at the heart of this objective. The examples of good practice collected and marketed by the project will help fulfil it.
To help improve the quality, attractiveness and accessibility of the opportunities for lifelong learning available within member states.
Since quality, attractiveness and accessibility of the opportunities are all learning region attributes, the project addresses these concerns by providing learning materials (eg from LILLIPUT), indicators (eg from INDICATORS), and case studies of good practice to enable regions to increase awareness of the need. Workshops will certainly be attractive examples of how to do it.
To reinforce the role of lifelong learning in creating a sense of European citizenship based on understanding and respect for human rights and democracy, and encouraging tolerance and respect for other peoples and cultures.
The EUROlocal and the learning region message is one of European harmony and tolerance. Workshops will reinforce that through the materials used. Examples of regional learning projects that promote internationalism and communication between European children and adults from different countries, as in the PALLACE project, will be actively marketed as a priority.
To encourage the best use of results, innovative products and processes and to exchange good practice in the fields covered by the Lifelong Learning Programme, in order to improve the quality of education and training.
This is the purpose of EUROlocal - to gather all products, processes, tools, materials, recommendations, strategies, case studies etc and encourage their best use by using the PENR3L and other networks to actively market them and encourage their exploitation in the regions. The web site and the learning materials produced by the project will also be of great value to this process.