Proposal for a recommendation on key competences for lifelong learning
Date:  10 November 2005
Typology: policy initiative - framework-model 
Commission of the European Communities




Brussel 10.11.2005
COM(2005)548 final

Proposal for a
Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council 
on key competences for lifelong learning

presented by the Commission 

Brussels, 10 November 2005

Explanatory memorandum

1. Context of the proposal
Grounds for and objectives of the proposal
The Lisbon European Council in March 2000 recognised that Europe faces challenges in adapting to globalisation and the shift to knowledge-based economies. It stressed that "Every citizen must be equipped with the skills needed to live and work in this new information society" and that "a European framework should define the new basic skills to be provided through lifelong learning: IT skills, foreign languages, technological culture, entrepreneurship and social skills".
The Recommendation proposed here therefore presents a European reference tool for key competences and suggests how access to these competences can be ensured for all citizens through lifelong learning.
More concretely, its objectives are to:
1) Identify and define the key competences necessary for personal fulfilment, social cohesion and employability in a knowledge society.
2) Support Member States' work on 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 that adults are able to develop and update them throughout their lives.
3) Provide a European level reference tool, the annexed Key Competences for Lifelong Learning - a European Reference Framework for policy makers, education providers, employers, and learners themselves to facilitate national and European level effort 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.
" (p. 2-3)


Key Competences for lifelong learning - A European Reference Framework

"This Framework sets out the eight key competences:
1. Communication in the mother tongue;
2. Communication in the foreign languages;
3. Mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology;
4. Digital competence;
5. Learning to learn;
6. Interpersonal, intercultural and social competences and civic competence;
7. Entrepreneurship; and
8. Cultural expression.

... Key competences are those which all individuals need for personal fulfilment and development, active citizenship, social inclusion and employment. By the end of initial education and training young people should have developed the key competences to a level that equips them for adult life, and they should be further developed, maintained and updated as part of lifelong learning."
(p. 13)

Key Competences
1. Communication in the mother tongue

Essential knowledge, skills and attitudes related to this competence
"Individuals should have the skills to communicate in oral and written forms in a variety of communicative situations and to monitor and adapt their own communication to the requirements of the situation. Competence also includes the abilities to write and read different types of texts, search, collect and process information, use aids, formulate and express one’s own arguments in a convincing way appropriate to the context." (p. 14)

4. Digital competence
"Definition: Digital competence involves the confident and critical use of Information Society Technology (IST) for work, leisure and communication. 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
Skills needed include: the ability to search, collect and process information and use it in a critical and systematic way, assessing relevance and distinguishing real from 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; they 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 competence.

5. Learning to learn
Definition: ‘Learning to learn’ is the ability to pursue and persist in learning. Individuals should be able to organise their own learning, including through effective management of time and information, both individually and in groups. Competence includes awareness of one’s learning process and needs, identifying available opportunities, and the ability to handle obstacles in order to learn successfully. It means gaining, processing and assimilating new knowledge and skills as well as seeking and making use of guidance.
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 that are necessary for further learning. Building on this, an individual should be able to access, gain, process and assimilate new knowledge and skills." (p. 16-17)

Keywords: policy document - EU proposal for education - EU reference framework - new educational framework - Lisbon 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 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 - literacy - numeracy - independent learning - learning process - learning needs

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