What are the principles of education as a lifelong process?
The world is evolving at a very fast rate at therefore, people’s growth should not be limited. Education is a lifelong learning process. Lifelong learning is derived from the principle of lifespan development, a continuous process from birth to death. Lifespan development integrates the study of human changes and human growth in all their lives, from childhood to old age. Education is the process of transmitting knowledge and also skills to live a fulfilled life. Lifelong learning is a learning that people seek throughout their lives. “The ideas of education and lifelong learning endure over the life of an individual’s existence, and lifelong learning transcends the limits of education and goes beyond traditional education in this regard, it is vital to assess how education settings can support lifelong learning” (Thwe et al., 2023, p.2). The European Commission has defined the term lifelong learning as all intentional learning processes and activities done by people by people in their lifetime in order to improve their skills knowledge to support and improve their careers (Thwe et al. 2023); This led to a more robust definition of lifelong learning which was defined as all of the processes that transforms people’s mind, body, and also social experiences practically, emotionally, and intellectually and integrated it into their livelihood and life story which makes them lead a more fulfilled life.” Meanwhile, the UNESCO definition of lifelong learning includes all intentional learning from birth to death that attempts to advance knowledge and skills for anyone who intends to engage in learning activities. Part of the broad definition of lifelong learning refers to informal learning in settings such as the workplace, at home, or in the community and formal education in institutions such as schools, universities, and alternative education centers” (Thwe et al., 2023, p.1). The European Lifelong Learning Initiative defined lifelong learning as a supportive process that consistently empowers the people to have awareness, skills, and values they would get in their lifetime. People also become more innovative and have self-belief (Thwe et al., 2023). The principles of education as a lifelong process include the principles of lifespan development and linked lives.
One of the principles of lifelong learning is the principle of lifespan development. “Developmental psychologists often work with the notions of stages, progressions, growth, and evolution and the resulting emphasis is on systematic pathways of development (change) over time with regard to competence development, there are two major relevant issues that possess different regularities and mechanisms: (a) the question how competencies develop (cumulatively) over the life course; and (b) the question how stable are differences among individuals over time once they have passed the formative phase of early experiences” (Thwe et al. 2023). Sociological life-course approaches incorporate the individual notions and differences of law development ie, emphasize variability, aging, and exogenous influence on the process of development over a long time that cannot be identified by focusing on taking on their individual traits or their past experiences (Thwe et al., 2023, p.2). “As a result, important aspects of educational careers are time-varying educational contexts that foster or hinder learning and educational progress and the sociological life-course perspective therefore focuses on the emergent properties over the life course based on structural experiences” (Thwe et al., 2023, p.2). For the sociologists, education is a lifelong process because it is age-differentiated because time and age which is influenced the movement through the education system through adolescence, childhood, and early adulthood. It also emphasizes between psychological and biological factors which shape their lives and contribution th the society. The principle of lifespan acknowledges that people’s development is not confined to their childhood or adolescence, but development continues throughout their old age. This principle should be embraced, and the learners should be allowed to continue with their lifelong learning for all to expand their knowledge and skills and practice it in their lives. Thus, the principle of lifespan development is essential and embraced in order to promote lifelong learning.
The principle of linked lives is another principle of lifelong learning. The principle of linked people is essential because people are linked are linked across all generations by bonds of kinship throughout different generations and the process of integrated transmission. The principle of linked lives forms an essential pillar of the lifelong learning process. It recognizes that personal development is integrated with their relationship, connection with other people, and experiences. “An age-based perspective emphasizing aging and educational careers, a kin-based perspective on the life course focuses on families and the ways societies reproduce themselves across generations, and modern educational research merges these two models for example, Mare (1980) has conceptualized educational attainment as movement through an ordered sequence of educational transitions” (Thwe et al., 2023, p.2). Educational achievement could be modeled as the set of ordered school activities and continuation of the probabilities showcasing the probability of attaining and achieving a specific education level as conditional on having finished the level which immediately proceeds it (Thwe et al. 2023). “The life-course perspective of “linked lives” also refers to important relationships outside the family, and they include the interactional influences of institutions like Kindergarten and school, neighborhoods, and peers; Kindergarten and school are the first educational organizations that children experience, and they constitute a large part of most children’s lives” (Thwe et al., 2023, p.2). By embracing the principle of linked lives, the lifelong learners encourage collaboration and also social responsibility. Through the collaborative learning processes, the environments ensure engagement and interactions, and they deepen their understanding of knowledge. It also enables them to positively contribute to their environment. Thus, the principle of linked lives enables people to be more interconnected and promotes inclusion for all in society.
In conclusion, education is a long-term process that leads to personal growth and development, enabling them to identify their passions and talents. The principles of education as a lifelong process include the principle of lifespan development and the principle of linked lives. People are also enabled to unlock their full potential and create their lifetime goals. Lifelong education equips people with the necessary tools to handle societal issues and make better decisions which will contribute to their societies. By people continuously learning, they expand their level of knowledge and skills.
Blossfeld, H. P., & Von Maurice, J. (2019). Education as a lifelong process (pp. 17-33). Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden.
Thwe, W. P., & Kálmán, A. (2023). Lifelong Learning in the Educational Setting: A Systematic Literature Review. The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 1-11.