|Editor||A. Ross, Learning for Democratic Europe|
I want to outline some of the issues that have arisen where new competencies are deemed to be required in the context of the foreseen increasing difficulties in managing the life-course over the first half of twenty-first century. The Economic and Social Research Council in the UK, in setting out the themes it proposes to support until 2005, echoes in many respects the European Union's Fifth Framework proposals of 1999. In particular citizenship and socio-economic understanding and learning have guaranteed places as do inquiries into the nature of the life-course and the changing character of labour markets. Social exclusion, and its strong correlate financial exclusion, is at the core of concerns. There are a growing number of occasions where powerful agencies (e.g. the Confederation of British Industry, the OECD) lobby for tying together and promoting citizenship, financial and consumer education. The Fifth Framework proposals contextualise this thrust by calling to mind the very real issues facing Europeans, internally as the character of their labour capacity changes, and externally in competition with the other global trading blocks. The CBI takes a life-long view of developing social, economic and industrial understanding to the extent of proposing that such matters become a permanent feature of the pre-16 curriculum as well as at the centre of post-16 training and career planning (Crick, 1998: #5.5). Specifically, changes to the following have far-reaching policy implications, and begin to require educational and pedagogical links and interventions. 1. A rapidly ageing population requires different, non-traditional skills, knowledges and approaches to life-planning, especially in connection with savings, personal pensions and long-term care needs. 2. Patterns of living, intimate relations and patterns of residence are changing in response to diversification of life-styles: there are increases in single-parent families, multi-adult households and single owner-occupier housing. 3. There are new relationships between career patterns, employment and training.