Bridge 47 have released a publication on 'Unlocking the transformative potential of education: the alliance between Lifelong Learning and SDG Target 4.7', written by Chris Millora.

Lifelong Learning Cover

Lifelong learning has been recognised as a vital component in achieving sustainability and quality education promoted through the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Approaches to SDG Target 4.7 policies (for instance in Global Citizenship Education and Education for Sustainable Development) have mainly focused on formal education systems often engaging young people. This tends to side line significant needs and contributions of adults – particularly women – in sustainable development.

Against this backdrop, this advocacy paper aims to gather evidence and best practice examples to advocate for the need to integrate lifelong learning approaches into strategies and actions to fulfil SDG Target 4.7. It draws from case studies in the contrasting contexts of Kenya, Canada, Germany and Egypt, as well as policy and programme documents from regional and global actors. It does so to demonstrate how lifelong learning approaches have been integrated into national and local policies – taking a step forward towards the aim of reaching SDG Target 4.7.

This paper has found that Lifelong learning as a spectrum of formal, informal and non-formal learning, offers a framework to embrace different forms of learning people gain in various spaces across their lifespan. While several lifelong learning policies emphasise economic benefits, evidence shows that lifelong learning also facilitates active citizenship, tolerance to diversity, empathy, learning to live together, leadership, intergenerational learning, and awareness of social injustices. This paper demonstrated the impact of ALE provisions that bring to centre stage the needs of adults – particularly women – in resource-poor contexts. These programmes recognise the ‘funds of knowledge’ and ‘banks of skills’ already existing in these communities – challenging the deficit discourse that is dominant particularly in development circles even today.

This publication is part of a series of publications commissioned to support advocacy for more space for Target 4.7 and Agenda 2030 in European and global policies. The publications are created to encourage discussion and represent the author’s view on the topic.