Both documents highlight the importance of education and training in developing new competences as the European societies and economies are experiencing significant digital and technological innovations as well as labour market and demographic changes. Education and training are part of the solution to get more people into decent jobs, respond better to the skills the economy needs and strengthen Europe's resilience. Lifelong learning needs to build on strong collaboration and synergies between industry, education, training and learning settings. At the same time, education and training systems need to adapt to this reality. Skills such as creativity, critical thinking, taking initiative and problem solving play an important role in coping with complexity and change in today's society.
The potential of education and culture as a driver for jobs, social fairness, active citizenship and European identity in all its diversity. It responds to the increased mobility of European labour markets, the need to increasingly invest in language learning, in digital, entrepreneurial and STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) competences.
In 2006, the European Parliament and the Council adopted the Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning. It recommended Member States to develop the provision of key competences for all as part of their lifelong learning strategies. It also defined in the annexed "European Reference Framework of Key Competences" the competences each individual needs for personal fulfilment and development, employment, social inclusion and active citizenship.
Member States were asked to use the Reference Framework to ensure that initial education and training offers all young people the means to develop the key competences to a level that equips them for adult life and that adults are able to develop and update their key competences throughout their lives. Key competences are those competences all individuals need for personal fulfilment and development, employment, social inclusion and active citizenship. They are composed of 'knowledge, skills and attitudes' and go beyond the notion of only (academic) 'knowledge'.
The 2006 European Reference Framework of Key Competences for lifelong learning (Reference Framework) defined eight key competences:
- Communication in the mother tongue;
- Communication in foreign languages;
- Mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology;
- Digital competence;
- Learning to learn;
- Social and civic competences;
- Sense of initiative and entrepreneurship; and
- Cultural awareness and expression.
Everyone, therefore, needs the opportunity to develop his or her competences throughout life.
For more information, please refer to both documents.