Lifelong learning is widely spoken about in the context of the education sector in New Zealand. The concept of lifelong learning is underpinned by learning which is flexible, diverse and available at different times and in different places. It is, in its essence, learning which is pursued throughout life. The fundamental value of lifelong learning is that it promotes learning beyond traditional schooling and throughout adult life. This is based on Delors’ (1996) four ‘pillars’ of education for the future:

  1. Learning to know – to gain an understanding of the world and its complexities, and to provide an appropriate foundation for future learning.
  2. Learning to do – to provide the skills needed to effectively participate economically and socially.
  3. Learning to be – to provide self-analytical and social skills to enable realisation of full potential.
  4. Learning to live together – to cement the values implicit within human rights, democratic principles, cultural competency and respect and peace at all levels of society and human relationships.

Lifelong learning instils creativity, initiative and responsiveness in people, thereby enabling them to show adaptability through enhancing skills to:

  • Manage uncertainty;
  • Communicate across and within cultures, families and communities; and
  • Negotiate conflicts.

The importance of having the ability to keep learning for a lifetime is embedded into the principle of lifelong learning. Lifelong and lifewide learning is fundamental in achieving:

  1. Personal fulfilment
  2. Active citizenship
  3. Social inclusion
  4. Employability/adaptability

These tenets are reflected in the practice of Adult and Community Education (ACE) within New Zealand – allowing adults to engage in systematic and sustained learning activities in order to gain new forms of knowledge, skills, attitudes, or values. ACE is hugely valuable to society and operates in Formal, Non-Formal and Informal learning environments.

Whatever your learning needs may be, there is an ACE learning context available to you to assist you in achieving your goals. Why not tell us about your lifelong learning journey so far? Post a comment here, we’d love to hear from you.

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