eucen is the largest multidisciplinary European association of university lifelong learning (ULLL) and university continuing education, with over 32 years of experience and wide expertise in the field.
Our large network gives us a reach of around 800 different institutions in Europe and around 300 in America. In addition, through our alliances with stakeholders we are connected to over 3,000 different organisations and institutions.
The current eucen Statutes were presented to members during the General Assembly in Budapest (HU), 10 June 2022, and approved unanimously.
The current version of the eucen Internal Regulations were presented to members during the General Assembly in Utrecht (NL), in June 2023, and approved unanimously.
eucen’s Statutes are officially registered in Belgium, in the Moniteur belge.
Members of eucen are ruled by the Statutes and Internal Regulations of the Association.
The Internal Regulations are written rules, procedures and internal requirements that have been defined to establish specific guidelines for the daily operation of eucen.
The Statues are the founding act of eucen as a formal association. They describe the purpose of eucen and its operating rules, and include:
In October 1992, eucen publishes its ‘Response to the European Commission on the Memorandum on Higher Education in the European Community’. With this publication, eucen introduces itself as the association representing transversal University Continuing Education (UCE) across Europe.
eucen welcomes the recognition of UCE’s growing importance and endorses in particular the identification of critical areas such as participation and access, partnership, and open and distance learning. eucen advocates for the need of continuing vocational education (CVE), social and cultural continuing education, and a European dimension, with shared identity, through social mobility and stability. eucen recommends policy changes in the area of UCE at the European, national, and institutional levels.
eucen develops the themes and priorities for UCE in a Thematic Network with working groups on topics such as access, validation of prior learning, and networking.
eucen publishes in January 2000 its “Ruffio Report” for the European Commission DG EAC, with the title “Changing the university: the supporting role of the Erasmus Thematic Networks“. Over the course of three years, eucen analysed the experience of the 43 projects funded in this programme, identifying the strengths, weaknesses, and activities.
eucen publishes its “Response to Challenges for European Universities” and recommends: developing the teachers’ roles and mission, new learning and legitimation processes, integrating disciplines and thematic content, and innovating organisational and pedagogic frameworks.
eucen constructs a European architecture for the Validation of Prior Learning (VPL). Funded by the Joint Action Programme of the EC (Transfine and Refine projects), eucen leads a multi-national and multi-sectoral team to:
collect, analyse and build on VPL work across formal, informal and non-formal education in Europe;
investigate the feasibility of an integrated set of procedures for a system of transfer and accumulation of qualifications;
create, develop and propose the principles, methods and tools for such a system;
construct a specification for pilot projects to test the proposals.
eucen collaborates with a wide range of partners in a peer learning and development process, tests and evaluates the models proposed with great success and goes on to impact developments in European policy arenas and networks.
eucen publishes “A policy statement to promote University Lifelong Learning (ULLL) in the Bologna Process”. Triggered by an absence of ULLL in the reform of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) despite the flexibility and access that ULLL could offer through BMD (Bachelors-Masters-Doctorate) structure, eucen proposes that universities could and should become learner-oriented with LLL part of the central mission of institutions. A range of actions and collaborations at all levels are identified to make this shift.
As part of the BeFlex project work, eucen also identifies 13 key recommendations for action to make HEIs genuine University Lifelong Learning institutions. These recommendations are grouped in 5 areas:
eucen cooperates with other European networks in the elaboration of the ‘European Universities’ Charter on Lifelong Learning’, published by EUA, setting out the commitments of HEIs and governments to ensure quality in LLL.
In its BeFlex Plus report, eucen pinpoints 10 recommendations to turn HEIs into University Lifelong Learning institutions:
You can read and download the full BeFlex Plus report.
Building on previous work, eucen designs tools to help universities elaborate a vision, mission and action plan to become LLL Universities (ALLUME project). Three tools are developed for:
eucen completes two successive projects on Validation of Prior Learning: OBSERVAL and OBSERVAL-Net with a network and online community of Validation Professionals in LinkedIn, promoting and supporting networking in eight European countries, with a collection of over 200 pieces of literature on VPL, an advocacy pack to promote VPL, and three fields of development work: bottom-up approaches, validation professionals, and work-based competences. Other outputs of the project are a manifesto and an eBook “The VNIL Report“.
Some of these results were sustained and adapted into eucen‘s work on validation of competences of migrants and refugees in the VINCE project in 2019.
eucen believes that ULLL should be underpinned by research like all higher level learning, but dialogue between researchers and practitioners is not always straightforward. Addressing this challenge, the Dialogue project promoted interaction in four thematic working groups: learning and guidance, access and progression, new media, and quality. As part of the project, eucen produced the report “Bridges between Research and Practice in University Lifelong Learning – Policy Report and Recommendations”.
eucen understands how ULLL can contribute to the social dimension of universities and builds tools to help them self-assess their commitment to the social dimension, identify strategies to increase attainment, and embed ULLL policy and practice within a strategy of wider social interaction. The COMMIT project developed twelve policy reminders covering three areas:
eucen focusses on cultural diversity and inclusion in the HE4u2 project – “Integrating cultural diversity in higher education”, which started in 2015 at the height of the migration ‘crisis’. It gave eucen the opportunity to observe how universities in Europe were addressing diversity and inclusion, to explore the weak points in our HE system, and the ways to improve it. The work produced a guide, a generic course for HE staff to understand and respond to diversity, and a set of policy recommendations.
eucen builds on previous work on social inclusion and validation of prior learning to focus on the needs of migrants and refugees. With partners in the VINCE project and NGOs working with newcomers eucen designs a set of tools based on experience in the field: guidelines for HE staff, 33 updated country profiles in VPL, a generic training course for Validation professionals, and a set of policy recommendations including eight key points for policy makers, HEIs and/or newcomers themselves. The project results have become a reference point for Europe; Ireland, for example has taken up the tools to develop their specific materials.
In addition to its strong role in inclusive learning, eucen also becomes more active in promoting professional learning, and supports up-skilling and re-skilling training as a crucial component of ULLL. Working in seven country teams, each with a university, an enterprise and an association, the ApprEnt project produced very important results: a definition of HE-Apprenticeship, an Advocacy Pack with five flash-cards (one for each target audience, i.e. potential apprentices, mentors, HEIs, enterprises and policy makers), a guideline for Agreement Models, a generic training course for mentors and supervisors, and a set of policy recommendations aimed at the EU, national and institutional policy makers, and business management. The training course for mentors and supervisors was, in 2019, the only such training course available in Europe.
eucen’s focus on diversity and inclusion moves to address three main areas of inequity in HE – migrant background students, women in leadership, and low socio-economic income students. The SMILE project has developed the European Diversity Audit Model for universities to self-assess in the area; created four CPD courses for HE staff; policy recommendations; and an action plan with principles targeting three areas of action: policy makers, HEI senior management and civil society.
University Lifelong Learning is a vector for promoting more equalities in European education and training systems, and for defending the fundamental values of democracies - promoting intercultural dialogue, social engagement and citizenship, and fighting xenophobia and intolerance all over Europe. It offers a great opportunity to develop collaborative actions to raise participation in learning.
Professor Emeritus Françoise de Viron
Former President of eucen