Professional specialization, continuing education, and employability are only few of the reasons why developing and implementing lifelong learning programs is a must in our modern society. This is the philosophy behind European policy acts taken, aiming to assimilate the differences between the various educational European systems of its State Members, while at the same time creating the necessary ground and conditions towards a flexible and common educational and training framework.
The main goal of this process is to develop the following key parameters:
- Improving the quality and efficiency of education
- Promoting equality, social inclusion and active citizenship
- Fostering creativity and innovation, including entrepreneurship, at all levels of education
In the wider context of lifelong learning, the role of non-formal education makes a significant contribution to a number of factors such as in: covering the professional skills gaps demanded by the economy, an effectively multi skilled trained workforce, implementing internal knowledge and management of best practices, and in continuous training to compensate for the technological evolution.
The term “lifelong learning” refers to all forms of learning activities that take place throughout life, and aims at the acquisition or pursuit of knowledge, skills and abilities for either personal or professional reasons, that contribute in turn to the personal development, and self-sustainability of the individual, its vocational integration and enhancement, social inclusion and active citizenship on an on-going basis and interaction with others on areas of common concern, socioeconomic and cultural interest. Training is realized and accomplished by formal, non formal and informal education.
The term non-formal education refers to any organized educational activity taking place outside the established formal system and leads to recognized and validated Certification at a national level. Initial and Continuing Vocational Training as well as Adult Education are only some of the areas non-formal education is applied.