This sub-theme is co-convened by:

Rebecca Hughes, The British Council

Bronwen Magrath, IEFG/University of Nottingham

The post-2015 lifelong learning agenda requires a renewed focus on the knowledge, attitudes and skills adults and youth require to build sustainable futures. Learning in education settings and workplaces must move beyond a narrow focus on employability to encompass broader ideas of decent work and adaptive strategies for sustainable livelihoods, including through the promotion of ‘green jobs’; adult education must move beyond a narrow focus on literacy to include citizenship and to advance personal and societal well-being.

At the same time, we recognise that the way we understand ‘well-being’ and ‘livelihoods’ is very dependent on context. We are interested in encouraging proposals that can help us understand how education policy and planning can better respond to the specificity of these contexts and communities’ needs, and how youth and adults can play a more active role in defining and shaping learning and curricular agendas. We encourage proposals that explore the theme of equitable youth and adult education in settings characterised by crisis, conflict and displacement – this is both because education is likely to be disrupted in these settings, and because education can help mitigate crises by equipping youth and adults with the knowledge, capabilities and resilience they require to thrive in adverse contexts.

We are interested in proposals that explore both the broad policy and curriculum reshaping needed to support lifelong learning for sustainable futures, as well as case studies of how these policies are implemented/enacted in communities and education settings. We particularly welcome proposals that explore the interplay between policy and practice. Proposals that focus on school and higher education contexts, lifelong learning, workplace settings, and sites of non-formal and informal learning would all be welcomed.

Proposals should seek to respond to one of the following questions:

  • What are the valued capabilities for all youth and adults within the sustainable development agenda? What inputs and interventions are needed to realise these capabilities?
  • What role do different stakeholders – and particularly employers and businesses – play in defining and driving a learning agenda for skills and capabilities?
  • What role can/should adult education (understood broadly) play in promoting and linking environmental, social and political sustainability? In encouraging active and engaged citizenry? In combatting inequity and marginalisation, particularly within conflict-affected and displaced communities?
  • How can policies around youth, adult, and lifelong learning balance between individual and societal needs? How can these policies respond to the need for decent work and personal well-being as well as to international commitments on sustainable production and consumption?
  • What case studies can researchers and planners draw on for guidance?

Bronwen and Rebecca have given an interview on their aspirations for the sub-theme.