Part of the Lifelong Learning Book Series book series (LLLB, volume 21)


Without a framework for transparency based on structural indicators in relation to policy, structures and practice at national, regional and institutional levels, it is difficult to apprehend how the wide range of systemic obstacles to access manifested across these European countries in this book will be overcome. Structural indicators are not expensive to monitor, unlike quantitative statistical outcome and process indicators. Establishing a substantial, clearly defined set of structural indicators of the range and scope proposed (macro-exo, meso-micro) would be a substantial enterprise that would require clear lines of communication between a defined part of the EU Commission in its Directorate-General, Education and Culture and a designated section in each Member State’s Education Ministry. It is recommended that the EU Commission consider leading a process, in dialogue with EU Member States, for the development of agreed structural indicators for access to lifelong learning and social inclusion—for higher education, non-formal education and prison education. The clusters of proposed European level structural indicators, extracted from problematic system blockages to access and good practice highlighted in the 12 national reports, would also require a country-specific review process to examine their implementation and development across European countries. This paradigm shift to include structural indicators is akin to the well-recognised shift in public health discourse from an exclusively disease prevention focus to a health promotion one.

Foucault (History of madness. Routledge, London/New York, 1972) focused on displacement, alienation or blockage in a systemic ‘structure of exclusion’. This interrogates diametric structures to a system (Downes P, The primordial dance: diametric and concentric spaces in the unconscious world. Peter Lang, Oxford/Bern, 2012), in contrast to Bronfenbrenner’s (The ecology of human development, Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA, 1979) background understanding of concentric static systemic structures. It is these dynamic systemic contrasts between concentric and diametric structures as spaces of relation that are arguably a new fundamental framework for development of more inclusive systems for access to education to go beyond blocked systems that foster structures and relations of exclusion. Many of the proposed structural indicators, focusing on bridges, transitions, outreach, mediating structures and strategic integration with structures, are promoting concentric relational systems of assumed connection and challenge to blocked diametric systems based on splits in communication, assumed separation and mirror image inverted symmetries (Lévi-Strauss C, Structural anthropology. The Penguin Press, Allen Lane, 1963).


Lifelong Learning National Report Concentric Structure Relational Space Structural Indicator 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Educational Disadvantage Centre St. Patrick’s CollegeDublin City UniversityDublinIreland

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