Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council on key competences for lifelong learning 
Date:  18 December 2006
Typology: policy initiative - framework-model - guide
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L 394/10 "Official Journal of the European Union" 30.12.2006

Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council 
of 18 December 2006
on key competences for lifelong learning


Brussels, 18 December 2006

That Member States develop the provision of key competences for all as part of their lifelong learning strategies, including their strategies for achieving universal literacy, and use the ‘Key Competences for Lifelong Learning — A European Reference Framework’ (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Reference Framework’) in the Annex hereto as a reference tool...
" (p. 1-2)

Key Competences for lifelong learning - A European Reference Framework

Background and aims
As globalisation continues to confront the European Union with new challenges, each citizen will need a wide range of key competences to adapt flexibly to a rapidly changing and highly interconnected world.
In this context, the main aims of the Reference Framework are to:
1) identify and define the key competences necessary for personal fulfilment, active citizenship, social cohesion and employability in a knowledge society;
2) support Member States' work in ensuring that by the end of initial education and training young people have developed the key competences to a level that equips them for adult life and which forms a basis for further learning and working life, and that adults are able to develop and update their key competences throughout their lives;
3) provide a European level reference tool for policy makers, education providers, employers, and learners themselves to facilitate national and European level efforts towards commonly agreed objectives;
4) provide a framework for further action at Community level both within the Education and Training 2010 work programme and within the Community Education and Training Programmes.

Key Competences
Competences are defined here as a combination of knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the context. Key competences are those which all individuals need for personal fulfilment and development, active citizenship, social inclusion and employment.

The Reference Framework sets out eight key competences:
1) Communication in the mother tongue;
2) Communication in foreign languages;
3) Mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology;
4) Digital competence;
5) Learning to learn;
6) Social and civic competences;
7) Sense of initiative and entrepreneurship; and
8) Cultural awareness and expression.

The key competences are all considered equally important, because each of them can contribute to a successful life in a knowledge society. Many of the competences overlap and interlock: aspects essential to one domain will support competence in another. Competence in the fundamental basic skills of language, literacy, numeracy and in information and communication technologies (ICT) is an essential foundation for learning, and learning to learn supports all learning activities. There are a number of themes that are applied throughout the Reference Framework: critical thinking, creativity, initiative, problem solving, risk assessment, decision taking, and constructive management of feelings play a role in all eight key competences.

1. Communication in the mother tongue
Essential knowledge, skills and attitudes related to this competence:
[...] This competence also includes the abilities to distinguish and use different types of texts, to search for, collect and process information, to use aids, and to formulate and express one's oral and written arguments in a convincing way appropriate to the context." (p. 4-5)

"4. Digital competence
Digital competence involves the confident and critical use of Information Society Technology (IST) [...] It is underpinned by basic skills in ICT: the use of computers to retrieve, assess, store, produce, present and exchange information, and to communicate and participate in collaborative networks via the Internet.
Essential knowledge, skills and attitudes related to this competence:
Digital competence requires a sound understanding and knowledge of the nature, role and opportunities of IST in everyday contexts: in personal and social life as well as at work. This includes main computer applications such as word processing, spreadsheets, databases, information storage and management, and an understanding of the opportunities and potential risks of the Internet and communication via electronic media (e-mail, network tools) for work, leisure, information sharing and collaborative networking, learning and research. Individuals should also understand how IST can support creativity and innovation, and be aware of issues around the validity and reliability of information available and of the legal and ethical principles involved in the interactive use of IST.
Skills needed include the ability to search, collect and process information and use it in a critical and systematic way, assessing relevance and distinguishing the real from the virtual while recognising the links. Individuals should have skills to use tools to produce, present and understand complex information and the ability to access, search and use internet-based services. Individuals should also be able use IST to support critical thinking, creativity, and innovation. 
Use of IST requires a critical and reflective attitude towards available information and a responsible use of the interactive media. An interest in engaging in communities and networks for cultural, social and/or professional purposes also supports this competence.

5. Learning to learn
‘Learning to learn’ is the ability to pursue and persist in learning, to organise one's own learning, including through effective management of time and information, both individually and in groups. This competence includes awareness of one's learning process and needs, identifying available opportunities, and the ability to overcome obstacles in order to learn successfully. This competence means gaining, processing and assimilating new knowledge and skills as well as seeking and making use of guidance. Learning to learn engages learners to build on prior learning and life experiences in order to use and apply knowledge and skills in a variety of contexts: at home, at work, in education and training. Motivation and confidence are crucial to an individual's competence.
Essential knowledge, skills and attitudes related to this competence:

Learning to learn skills require firstly the acquisition of the fundamental basic skills such as literacy, numeracy and ICT skills that are necessary for further learning. Building on these skills, an individual should be able to access, gain, process and assimilate new knowledge and skills. This requires effective management of one's learning, career and work patterns, and, in particular, the ability to persevere with learning, to concentrate for extended periods and to reflect critically on the purposes and aims of learning. Individuals should be able to dedicate time to learning autonomously and with self-discipline, but also to work collaboratively as part of the learning process, draw the benefits from a heterogeneous group, and to share what they have learnt. Individuals should be able to organise their own learning, evaluate their own work, and to seek advice, information and support when appropriate." (p. 5-6)

Keywords: policy document - EU recommendation for education - EU reference framework - new educational framework - key competences for lifelong learning - key competences - lifelong learning - personal fulfilment - personal development - active citizenship - social inclusion - social cohesion - digital competence - language skills - language competences - learning to learn - learning  skills - social competences - cultural competences - entrepreneurship skills - initiative skills - problem solving - decision taking - risk assessment - management of feelings - communication skills - presentation skills - information skills - information management - critical use of information - evaluation of information - information sharing - information processing - information searching - use of the Internet - Internet-based services - collaborative networks - basic competences - access to information - critical thinking - creative skills - media skills - ICT skills - literacies - independent learning - learning process

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