Lifelong learning at university
From business administrator to engineer and from communication professional to agronomist. Whether you want to improve the world or your chances on the job market, you can continue to develop your skills at university throughout your life. Today, the universities of the Netherlands launched the new online platform www.universitairdoorleren.nl.
Growing demand for lifelong learning is a consequence of the rapid changes that are taking place in various professions and careers as they become more flexible. Pieter Duisenberg, President of the Association of Universities in the Netherlands says, ‘We are also noticing a growing need for new knowledge and skills to solve major issues such as the energy transition, digitisation and combating infectious diseases. Education no longer stops with a basic qualification.’
To meet this strong social demand, Duisenberg believes the law needs amending to recognise lifelong learning as a fourth government-funded core task of the universities, alongside the existing statutory core tasks of research, education and knowledge transfer. ‘The investment deficit of at least 1.1b euros for the current tasks first needs to be cut though; otherwise there’s no room for new developments.’
Over 1,100 modules
The 14 universities are currently offering 1,423 modules on the online platform universitairdoorleren.nl, with huge variety in terms of content, length and structure. At Leiden University you can follow modules on cybersecurity, law and education & teaching, for example. The range of courses on the online platform will be changing all the time. New modules that respond to developments on the job market will be constantly developed in conjunction with businesses and nonprofit organisations. By providing lifelong learning the universities will increase their interaction with society as course participants share their practical experiences with their course lecturers.
Universities of the Netherlands
The umbrella organisation has a new name: ‘Universities of the Netherlands’. The LLO platform is the first joint project to be presented under the new name.
Photo: Taco van der Eb