DARE Network at Lifelong Learning Week 2023: Lowering the Democracy and Participation Gap – with Key Competences

DARE Network organises a workshop in the Lifelong Learning Week. Discuss with us, how democracy- and human rights-related learning can lead to impact on democratic life. Where education and key competences come into play, and how these link to the civic space and civic engagement.


  • Daria Arlavi, Policy Officer SNE – European Education Area European Commission
  • Evgeniya Khoroltseva/Georg Pirker (Democracy and Human Rights Education in Europe – DARE network)
  • Elisa Gambardella, SOLIDAR Foundation and LLLP President
  • Representative of Civil Society Europe (tbc)
  • Nils-Eyk Zimmermann (Democracy and Human Rights Education in Europe) Moderation

The EU’s role in promoting key competence-centered education as a holistic and modern learning approach was important during the last decades. The Key Competences for LLL and the development of concrete competence frameworks for some of the competences mentioned there, have been giving guidance to education for some time now. However, did this promotion and development of competence frameworks lead to more wellbeing, democratic resilience or more social, political or economic co-creation? What can such frameworks (and their promotion) do and what more do we need to focus on in order to support Europeans (better) for learning democracy?

In a first step we discuss the role and relevance of competence-centered learning and of competence frameworks. By taking a closer look at the Key Competences for LLL, and other frameworks we reflect on its role and relevance, as well raise a special attention to democracy and participation in economic, social and political life. The question is important in Europe today, as democratic developments are challenging. Despite more and more political frames and agendas to foster democracy and democracy learning are out there, we face raising threat to democracy, by authoritarianism, anti-democratic parties and shrinking democratic spaces. So what to do?

In the second part we want to extend our focus to the role democracy-related learning outside schools and higher education (for example in non-formal/informal learning, civil initiatives ) plays for democratic development and civic participation in our countries.  In civil society organisations and grassroot initiatives, but also in other spaces where democracy-related learning takes place, such as adults’- and elders’ centers, museums and libraries. What is needed for better support of education addressing civic competence and active citizenship?