A modern society cannot afford to limit its definition of education to the period of childhood and schooling.
A few decades ago, confining education to childhood was understandable. Most people were living pretty much all their lives in the same village/city were they were born. Hence, it was very likely for the individual to be able to assimilate the culture of his/her particular society in his/her childhood. Then, often people were following the profession of their parents or, if they were breaking up with their family tradition, it would have been for a life-time job…or maybe just for a half-life-time-job. But anyway, the knowledge, skills and attitudes learnt till adulthood were enough to provide the individual with a job and help him/her make a living out of it for many years without returning to education. Therefore, by the time of adulthood, the education process in their case was to a large extent accomplished: they were already socialized members of their society and qualified workers, ready to start performing on the labour market.But in the modern society, the individual has to learn “from cradle to grave”.First, the individual has to become qualified today for the jobs that will emerge tomorrow, to acquire new skills and competences for a rushed market. Qualification, re-qualification, and then re-re-qualification are the hunting concepts chasing us in a too-narrow labour market that stubbornly refuse to embrace us all. We aggressively compete for jobs. We become more and more specialized, interested in tiny fields, pieces of a lost big picture.
Second, people get to travel and live in different corners of this small world with big differences between its societies. When an individual moves to another country, s/he has to be socialized again as a member of a different society, different from the one where his/her primary socialization took place. And the co-members have to learn to integrate him/her. Even in the case of one living in the same country, given the increase of migration and travel, there are more and more chances for him/her to be exposed to alternative interpretations of the social reality, to various cultures, to diverse groups which push the individual into learning situations.
Education has to keep the pace with these rapid social changes occurring and assist the individual to respond to these changes. Education has become a lifelong activity that may occur at any stage of life.