Lifelong learning in German learning cities/regions

Author/s: Denise Reghenzani-Kearns and Peter Kearns

Edition: Volume 52, Number 2, July 2012

Summary: This paper traces the policies and lessons learned from two consecutive German national programs aimed at developing learning cities/regions. Known as Learning Regions Promotion of Networks, this first program transitioned into the current program, Learning on Place. A case study chosen is from the Tölzer region where a network has self-sustained from its genesis in the initial program and conducts successful Learning Festivals. The German Government funded the Learning Regions Promotion of Networks Program from 2001 to 2008, with support from the European Union (EU) Social Fund. Over 70 regions were supported with a substantial budget on a phasing-out funding basis. When this program ended in 2008, a new program titled Learning on Place began, funded by the German Government and the EU Social Fund, commencing in 2009. This program has a focus on public and private partnership in supporting good educational management in cities and rural communities. In this way, by involving private foundations as partners, a framework for civic engagement has been introduced. To understand the purposes of and outcomes from these initiatives, it is important to grasp the European context within which the German Government and its Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF [Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung]) responded in answering the call to implement ‘coherent and comprehensive strategies for lifelong learning’ (European Commission 2001: 4). In setting this challenge, the Commission communication quoted from a Chinese proverb that has philosophically underpinned the approach: When planning for a year, plant corn. When planning for a decade, plant trees. When planning for life, train and educate people. (Guanzi c. 645BC)

Keywords: learning cities, Learning on Place, public–private partnership, Germany, lifelong learning

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This article is part of AJAL, Volume 52_2. The entire volume is available in .pdf for purchase here.

 

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