‘Mandatory’: Why Nordic Countries May Send Seniors Back to School

Posted: July 12, 2016 in Uncategorized

You’re never too old to learn, especially if you have no choice. Former EU Commissioner and current Nordic Council rapporteur Paul Nielson has proposed requiring seniors in the Nordic countries to hit the books – again.

Proposal 7, as it is named, is part of a strategic review of the Nordic labor market, established by the Nordic Council in 1954.

Proposal 7 says that “Nordic governments should commit to the principle of mandatory adult and continuing training for all in labor markets.”

The proposal has support among many forward-thinkers in the region, as, according to a 2012 EU report on aging, the number of people aged 80 years and up in Europe is projected to nearly triple over the next 50 years, from 23.7 million in 2010, to an estimated 62.4 million in 2060.

What makes Proposal 7 more intriguing is the use of the word “mandatory” within the text, implying what amounts to compulsory education for seniors, according to Nielson.

“The combination of rapid technological development with the gradual increase in retirement age increases the need for new forms of education,” Nielson told reporters, noting that people in their 60s may still have 5 to 10 more years to contribute to the labor market in Nordic countries.

While Nielson refers to the proposal as “visionary,” he insists that, “When it comes to education, new thinking is needed to safeguard the Nordic Region’s competitive edge going forwards.”

“To prepare ourselves for the future we need to think out of the box,” writes Nielson in his report.

The Nordic Council is a geopolitical inter-parliamentary forum of cooperation between Nordic countries. It was formed in 1952 to promote cooperation between the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. The Faroe Islands, Greenland and Aaland are associate-members of the council.

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