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ERIC Number: EJ869890
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 40
ISSN: ISSN-1056-7879
Lifelong Learning: Attitudes of Slovenian Higher Educators toward Accreditation of Prior Learning Experiences
Omerzel, Doris Gomezelj; Sirca, Nada Trunk; Shapiro, Arthur; Brejc, Mateja; Permuth, Steve
International Journal of Educational Reform, v17 n4 p375-398 Fall 2008
This article focuses first on fundamental trends weakening the European--specifically, the Slovenian--economy and social structure, which are creating a two-class system consisting of an undereducated/uneducated population unable to compete for employment in an economy increasingly requiring more education to update employees' skills. Learning and education have become an imperative for people wishing to upgrade their employability to counter increasing unemployment and the impact of an aging society. The study next addresses its purpose--to discover higher educators' and folk high school educators' perceptions of an initiative developed to address this social and economic problem, namely, by creating a lifelong learning approach to accredit informal and experiential learning experienced outside the formal higher education system. A national Slovenian conference was organized to focus on these issues. A convenience sample of participants attending this conference were asked to what extent they perceive and expect Slovenian higher education institutions and other educational organizations to accredit nonformal and experiential learning and what criteria and conditions are necessary for a successful initiative. The study explores the European social model, which aims to improve employability to avoid increasing the two-class social system of uneducated and undereducated citizens as the economy increasingly requires more highly educated employees. Although a third of the respondents were unaware of the issues of such an approach to lifelong learning, participants overall perceived that creating a flexible education system, including procedures for validating previous education and other forms of knowledge, should be one of the objectives of higher education institutions, as well as other institutions engaged in adult education. To be effective, the system must be developed and implemented in partnership with employers, individuals, and educational institutions. This article describes the situation with respect to recognizing prior learning in European Union countries and the Slovenian reactions to them. Moreover, it presents results of empirical survey research into the motivation of participants in educational institutions to cooperate in the system established to validate nonformal and informal learning. Respondents recognized a need for and supported developing a system of accrediting lifelong learning experiences. A lifelong learning policy appears to include the three dimensions of innovation, social inclusion, and active citizen participation. The concepts of the learning society, the knowledge society, and lifelong learning have been relatively slow to emerge to become significant influences in Slovenian higher educational attendees' perceptions as national goals for higher education. A huge discussion among participants manifested support for such an enterprise as a social good, and they recommended forming a commission of higher education institutions to develop a system consisting of a common framework within which accreditation could be implemented to meet increasing social employment needs affecting Slovenian society, with one major criterion: that it be fair and just. Another recommendation was to include employers, individuals, and higher education reference groups in developing the system. (Contains 5 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Slovenia