The Valuing Learning Manifesto: Integrating the Voice of the Learner in the Worlds of Learning and Working

Ruud Duvekot


The urgency to bridge the worlds of learning and working in the interests of the social participation of all citizens is great. A new social contract has been proposed for both worlds in order to better attune working and learning to supply and demand from society. Minouche Shafik (2021) calls for a new contract that enhances investment in human capital in the labor market. The UNESCO (2021) calls for strengthening the function of education by better supporting people in their lifelong development. With this Valuing Learning Manifesto, I want to connect both proposals and scale them up to a social contract in a holistic learning culture by putting 'the voice of the learner' first. Mobilizing this 'voice' is so far missing in the proposals but is leading and should be supported by education, training and HRM.

The Valuing Learning Manifesto’s objective is to strengthen social cohesion and make society more inclusive by empowering learners to articulate and express their true learning potential. Therefore, a more holistic approach to learning is needed in which the valuing or validation of (previous) learning and affording new (further) learning are integrated into a person-driven approach. Making the learner co-owner of one’s own learning is crucial in this paradigm-shift. After all, it’s individual learners who learn! Let 'the voice of the learner' be heard in initiating and organizing learning processes that benefit them and thus society. In this way we will finally live up to the aspiration expressed 50 years ago that ‘learning is important and valuable to all, people are encouraged to keep learning throughout their lives, and opportunities to learn are accessible to all’ (Faure, et al, 1972). 

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