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Cork was presented with a UNESCO Learning City Award in 2015, recognising progress made in developing Lifelong Learning for all, and in doing so enhancing the Inclusion, Prosperity and Sustainable Development of the city.’

UNESCO define a Learning City as a city which effectively mobilizes its resources across all sectors to maximise the opportunities for lifelong learning for all its citizens.

A learning city has developed the following elements:
 – Inclusive learning from basic to higher education
 – learning in families and communities
 – learning for and in the workplace
 – modern learning technologies
 – quality and excellence in learning
 – a culture of learning throughout life

Cork city has a vibrant, inclusive, quality infrastructure of education from basic to higher education and is home to enthusiastic, involved and committed learning communities.  Through the adoption by Cork City Council in 2014 of the Beijing Declaration on Learning Cities the city has committed itself developing best practice as a learning city.

Steering Group

To lead the development of Cork as a Learning City the following partners have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Learning in 2015 and have formed a steering group:

4
Learning Neighbourhoods..so far
20000
Festival programmes circulated throughout the city
600+
Events in the 14th Lifelong Learning Festival
12
UNESCO presented Cork with one of the first 12 Global Learning City Awards

Growing Lifelong Learning in Cork

The Working Group which will drive the Cork Learning City initiative forward is GLLiC (Growing Lifelong Learning in Cork).

It is made up of representatives of Cork City Council, Cork Education and Training Board, University College Cork and Cork Institute of Technology who have joined with others in recognising the necessity to continually improve skills and human capital through learning. 

Other GLLiC members are the Health Service Executive, the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals, the Cork Environmental Forum, Cork Healthy City, the Central Statistics Office and Cork Opera House. 

This initiative is a response to Cork City Council’s formal adoption of the UNESCO Beijing Declaration on Building Learning Cities in 2014.

Building on the achievements of the past decade through initiatives such as the Lifelong Learning Festival, and Learning Neighbourhoods, and adopting the approach pioneered through the EcCoWell initiative, this GLLiC Working Group will advance these aspirations:

  • Learning for all;
  • Learning for Life;
  • Learning for Sustainable Development.

The EcCoWell initiative takes a holistic approach to city development, bringing together Ecology & Economy (Ec), Community & Culture (Co), Wellbeing & Lifelong Learning (Well).

It promotes the integration of strategies to maximise the positive impacts on the health and educational opportunities of all citizens, as well as developing the environmental and economic sustainability of the city, resulting in greater equality, social inclusion, and ultimately a better quality of life.  

A formal Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by Cork City Council, Cork Education and Training Board, University College Cork, Cork Institute of Technology, The HSE Cork, and the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals in order to address the following themes:

  1. Benefit the citizens of Cork by achieving designation as a UNESCO Learning City;
  2. Enhance existing projects, including the Cork Lifelong Learning Festival;
  3. Encourage citizens to engage in learning activities, whatever their age, interest or ability, in order to develop a culture of learning.

These have each designated a liaison officer on the GLLiC Working Group, who will be the primary point of contact between them and will be responsible for sustaining lasting co-operation between them.