In his introductory speech, Dr. Kopač highlighted the fact that we live in a time when changes follow each other much faster than in the past. Changes and uncertainties are a constant of human development and no generation has been without them. The pace of change makes the need for flexibility all the greater. Every generation, and thus society, is faced with the central question of how to transform uncertainties into opportunities for the individual and society as a whole. She pointed out that knowledge is that quality or a commodity that allows a person to adapt.
In the following, she touched on the field of employment and pointed out that socialization is one of the key concepts of lifelong learning, which significantly contributes to better employability conditions:
“Without effective socialization for lifelong learning early in development, it will be difficult to have exceptional learning adults. Learning should be seen as a lifelong process, where it is difficult to skip a step. Preschool education, as well as primary and secondary education, the individual’s desire for knowledge and awareness of the importance of knowledge for one’s own development are therefore important.”
As successful models of lifelong learning, she singled out models that address all age groups, but above all 3 key dimensions: economic, personal and social development.
“Under the influence of the digital technological revolution, the world of work is changing extremely quickly, and with it, also jobs. The skills that an individual will need during their involvement in the labor market will be much more variable than was the case for our parents’ generation. It’s not just about digital skills, it’s about an individual’s ability to adapt, communicate and solve challenges.”
In the continuation of the conversation, Dr. Kopač also touched on the Nordic model of lifelong learning, which is characterized by a high level of involvement of young people and the elderly, and is considered the most effective from the point of view of economic and social aspects. High-quality public services and an active employment policy aimed at empowering individuals excluded from the labor market, as well as state-funded adult education, contribute significantly to this.
She continued that it is crucial to find the necessary model of responsibility for lifelong learning among the key stakeholders: the state, companies and individuals. Kopač defended the concept that the state must provide an environment that encourages lifelong learning and where the role of both companies and individuals is clearly defined. At the end of the conversation, she also expressed the opinion that it would be necessary to consider the systemic role of the state in financing lifelong learning, not only through European funds, but also in the form of vouchers for adult education, and emphasized that it would also be necessary to find a way to encourage companies, in order for it to educate and additionally train its employees.
Also participating in the round table were Dr. Darjo Felda, Minister of Education, Miro Smrekar, Secretary General of the Association of Employers of Slovenia, Lidija Jerkič, President of the Association of Free Trade Unions of Slovenia and dr. Nataša Potočnik, director of the Slovenian Andragogic Center.