14. EDUCATION & TRAINING AND LIFELONG LEARNING

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  • Investment in education is the starting point for national economic and social development. It is the single most effective intervention to improve employment prospects, competition, and to drive growth.
  • The development of a comprehensive and effective training infrastructure, free of excessive bureaucracy, and tuned to the changing needs of the labour market, is pivotal to the achievement of short and long-term economic goals, as well as providing enterprises with a competitive edge to compete in the global economy.
  • Skills development policies should focus first on the basic skills of literacy, language, and numeracy, and should be directed to determining an economy's future needs.
  • The principle of equality of access should apply both to education, training, and to lifelong learning.
  • Skills development policies should be predicated on a short, medium and long-term analysis of the economy, and on an identification of leading and growing sectors in which individuals can find employment opportunities.
  • Mobility is promoted - a standardized national qualifications framework (NQF) can help break down divisions between university qualifications and those secured thorough vocational and school education. A national qualifications framework should be both standardized and its outcomes focused.
  • Policies that encourage people to improve their skills during their whole career and adapt to changing labour market requirements should be encouraged. The focus should be on matching supply with demand.
  • Business and its representatives need to have an active role in the development, monitoring, and evaluation of skills development policies and programmes that impact on enterprises, along with the development and definition of occupational competencies.
  • Improving productivity needs to be a major factor in developing training systems.
  • Labour market activation policies must be focused on preventing the long-term unemployed from becoming detached from the labour market and emphasize effective integration of women into the formal labour market.
  • Labour market activation policies do not become more effective simply by raising total spending, what is essential is to raise the quality of spending.
  • In developing countries, getting the basic framework conditions right (e.g., basic education) is key to the generation of sustainable enterprises that can contribute not just to local economic activity but to the health and education of the next generation.
  • Business has a clear interest in ensuring that education and training systems create the skilled, competent and flexible labour force they will need in the future. As key customers of the education and training system, business can help inform policy and practice across a variety of issues.
  • Business needs to work collaboratively in the development of this framework, along with the other stakeholders: governments, national and local agencies, academic and training institutions, and workers' organizations.