In 2008 European universities agreed to strengthen their role in permanent training as a way to intensify the social dimension of Higher Education and meet the demands of a society under transformation. In particular, the European University Association (EUA) passed a Declaration of European Universities on lifelong learning in order for universities to take the lead in this matter.
To comply with this demand, Universities may act individually or in collaboration with other institutions, employers and labor organizations. Lifelong learning means reaching out to an increasingly broad range of learners with different motivations and interests. In general, it not only means adopting a different perspective of university learning, but also adapting study programs to ensure that they are designed to widen participation and attract returning learners. Lifelong learning should be closely intertwined with the key aspects of university: research, teaching and innovation.
The Spanish Royal Decree (Real Decreto) 1509/2008, regulating Registration of Universities, Centers and Qualifications opens the possibility to register non-official qualifications. Carrying out non-official studies shall not imply, whatsoever, a decrease in human resources and materials dedicated to official studies. Non-official studies shall be supplementary to the structure of the official curricular training opportunities. University non-official training shall adopt the objectives applicable parameters in terms of qualification competence, education planning, teaching guides elaboration, tutorial action plans, and the quality assurance system. Non-official studies provide irrefutable evidence of the identity of the university community, in accordance with the principles of academic quality, flexibility and social commitment of universities.