International Forum

of the Russian Union of Pensioners and the European Federation of Older Persons Moscow, Russia, 19 September 2019


“Lifelong Learning – The Right of Access to Education for Older Persons”

Conclusions and recommendations

(As of 01 November 2019)

The International Forum on “Lifelong Learning – The Right of Access to Education for Older Persons”, that took place in Moscow on 19 September 2019, has been attended by a great number of high-level representatives of Russian political bodies, public administrations, science and research and civil society – as well as members of the Russian Union of Pensioners and the European Federation of Older Persons. 

The various outstanding expert contributions to the topic were debated in three working groups and commented on in the plenaries. 

From the presentations in the International Forum and from the ensuing discussions the following conclusions can be drawn:

  • Education is a process of complex learning, covering much more than the transfer of information and knowledge
  • Education is a prerequisite for personal growth and the development or maintenance of the individual’s skills to participate in various areas of society
  • Education is a strong promotor of individual and group self-confidence – and thus can result in improved quality of life and a higher sense of contentment
  • Education helps to develop and use the potential and talents of people and is meant to build up or extend skills
  • Education promotes capacities of understanding and interpretation of facts, ideas, situations and changes
  • Education enables people to rationally cope with the complexity and demands of life, society and culture
  • Education equips people to better adapt to economic and social changes, to cope with problems and to benefit from chances and opportunities
  • Education allows people to become better integrated members of the community through the development of communication, exchange and participation
  • Education makes people fit to effectively contribute to the economic, cultural and social advancement of society – and the shaping of its future
  • Education is the foundation of culture and science, the engine of economic and social progress – and reflects the stage of development of a nation
  • Education is an important basis of identity, the source of understanding rights and duties, reduces marginalization and develops active citizenship
  • Education thus enhances autonomy, self-determination and social inclusion of the individual as well as the cohesion of society
  • Education constitutes an essential factor in health promotion, prevention of poverty, as well as avoidance of marginalization and discrimination
  • Education in the broad sense is at the same time a strong aspiration of the individual and a prerequisite for a well-functioning modern society

From these considerations, a number of important recommendations to decision-makers in various domains and at different levels can be formulated – as follows:

  • The access to education for all and at any age has to be considered as a fundamental right that has to be fully recognized by State and by society at large
  • All institutions and structures in society should be determined to demonstrate the value of this right – and emphasize people’s own responsibilities to benefit from
  • The State has to have the clear political will to develop adequate policies and strategies to guarantee the enjoyment of this basic right by all
  • For this, the State has to invest sufficiently in the necessary educational infrastructures and in appropriate programs, with fair and equal conditions for all
  • Education institutions and programs should be designed, as much as possible, to be used by many age groups – in order to avoid segregation and promote mutual learning
  • Great attention has to be given to the development of expertise and methodologies that correspond to the differentiated needs and choices of people in matters of education
  • Education personnel has to be sensitized and qualified to respond to the changing attitudes, interests and capabilities of people over the life course
  • Research in matters of education techniques and conditions has to be intensified in order to make teaching and learning as effective as possible
  • Access to education must be organized in a way that it is attractive, easy, without barriers and affordable (also in terms of transportation, etc.)
  • Educational programs should offer information, incentives and training to promote healthy lifestyles and maintenance of social contacts to act against loneliness
  • Access to educational programs must be guaranteed all over the country in order to ensure that also people in remote and sparsely populated areas can use them
  • Educational programs should include elements that potentially can boost professional capacities, employability and entrepreneurship
  • Educational programs must be conceived in a user-friendly manner, with individualized options and strong consideration of socio-cultural determined capacities
  • The users – and their representative organizations – have to be given a decisive role in the design and implementation of educational policies, strategies and programs
  • Effective systems of monitoring and assessment of the quality and adequacy of educational programs need to be established – with possibilities for readjustment
  • Assessment processes have to provide possibilities of expressions of preferences by “choice and voice” and satisfaction feedback of the users
  • Public authorities as well as civil society organizations should run intensive publicity campaigns providing information on the benefits of lifelong education
  • State, enterprises, civil society and scientific organizations should offer material and immaterial rewards to recognize contributions to education and the use of educational systems

Kronberg, 01 November 2019 Dirk Jarré, President of EURAG