AccScience Publishing / IJPS / Volume 9 / Issue 3 / DOI: 10.36922/ijps.339
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RESEARCH ARTICLE

The right to lifelong learning: Addressing policy challenges for late-life learning in Canada

Satya Brink1*
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1 ENCELL, Jönköping University, Jönköping, Sweden
IJPS 2023, 9(3), 33–44; https://doi.org/10.36922/ijps.339
Submitted: 3 September 2022 | Accepted: 16 May 2023 | Published: 9 June 2023
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Active Ageing and Educational Gerontology)
© 2023 by the Author(s). This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution -Noncommercial 4.0 International License (CC-by the license) ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ )
Abstract

Lifelong learning is essential to support optimum development, cope with life challenges, improve healthy autonomy and contribute to a just, sustainable, and prosperous society. The value of the legal right to lifelong learning is not well understood, tested, or applied, as lifelong learning is rarely extended to all people till the end of life. Education or learning was formally accepted as a human right under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. Together with UNESCO Recommendation against Discrimination in Education (1960), these two international agreements ensure access, relevance, and equity of lifelong learning. Possible reasons for low compliance and slow implementation of lifelong learning to the end of life are discussed. Canada’s efforts can serve as a model for lifelong learning policies for later life because, as a federated country, it requires national and provincial laws to work together to achieve the same desired outcome for lifelong learning across thirteen different provinces and territories. Furthermore, for the first time, the 2021 Canadian census provided detailed data for the population aged 65–100 years, and it supports evidence-based policy development regarding for whom, when, what, when, where, and how lifelong learning outcomes can be provided nationally. A combination of need and capacity is a better measure than determining eligibility by age 65–100 years, and the quality of learning should be based on responsiveness to specific needs and its relevance to learners in the last four decades of life. The needs for knowledge range from life management, personal growth, societal contributions, and legacy for the future. Learning options should be continuous, encourage individual choice, and rely on geragogy. To be equitable, learning in later life should be delivered in formal, non-formal, or informal means in residential and institutional settings.

Keywords
Late-life learning
Human rights
Disaggregated data
National policy
Funding
None.
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Conflict of interest
The author declares that she has no competing interests.
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International Journal of Population Studies, Electronic ISSN: 2424-8606 Print ISSN: 2424-8150, Published by AccScience Publishing