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Subject The regional dimension within education, lifelong learning and continuing professional development
Magdolna Benke, National Institute for Adult Education, Hungary
> Discussion of presentation
Outline My abstract is based on two research projects. Within the scope of a research project carried out by the National Institute of Vocational Education in 2002, I led a research group examining the role and importance of education, training and lifelong learning (LLL) within the development plans of the seven economic-administrative regions of Hungary. Research itself was undertaken in the course of the preparatory phase of Hungary’s first National Development Plan. Since October 2004 I lead a research group in the National Institute for Adult Education to search the connection between human resource development and regional development planning process in the country. 
    A clear and objective picture of the country’s human resource conditions is, of course, essential. It is also important to consider a regional dimension to the subject at the time of European Union accession. In accordance with the main aim of the research projects, special attention was directed towards education, training, LLL and CPD, as elements of human resource development within the regions. Both research topics are of special relevance, since the regions in question will be beneficiaries of support from the EU funds.
    Both research projects were based on seven regional case studies. To ensure comparative analysis of the main features of the regional structures, certain criteria were taken as guidelines to assist in the preparation of the regional studies. The regional studies were based on the analysis of regional documents, interviews with key players within the regions and other relevant research papers. Both research topics themselves do constitute a new and unprecedented departure within the country as a whole.
   The following outline presents some of the main lessons derived from our research:
  • A number of serious differences exist among the regions regarding how they are able to harmonise human resource sector specific, ie. educational, and regional aspects within their planning and development processes.
  • The new dimension of “regionalism” in relation to education, LLL and CPD poses a real challenge for society as a whole; the socialisation process, social debates, social partnership may increase the effectiveness of this learning process.
  • According to our research findings, a much greater emphasis is placed on school-based education within the regional development plans than on LLL and CPD.
  • There is an urgent need for reorganising the regional system of vocational education and training institutions to ensure a more efficient level of education and training, which, given the structure of the financial system, may only be resolved with governmental involvement.
  •  Further research may provide answers to questions concerning how to direct individual region’s attention towards the importance of adult education, lifelong learning and company-based training in their future development plans 
  • HRD and Regional Development should join forces to be able to combat serious social inequalities in underdeveloped sub-regions of the country.
Source Paper presented at the 6th international conference on HRD research and practice across Europe: Human resource development - addressing the value. Leeds 25-27 May 2005. (Abstract; full paper incl. in CD-ROM).
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