Chapter 4 on New Policy: Planning and Implementation

The European Agenda for Adult Learning presents a vision of how adult learning should develop in Europe in the years to come. One of the specific priorities for the period 2015- 2020 has been (…)

“…improving governance through better coordination between policy areas, enhanced effectiveness and relevance to needs of society”.

A variety of national (also at local and regional level) initiatives are currently taking place in European countries, aiming to improve adult learning policies by increasing the cooperation between all relevant stakeholders.


4.1 Case study: Italy

The importance of well-planned stakeholder cooperation is the main focus of the interview EBSN has conducted with Claudio Vitali from the National Institute for Public Policy Analysis in Italy (INAPP).


Questions for reflection after reading the interview with Claudio Vitali

  • Claudio Vitali states that the divided nature of responsibility in adult learning policy (national, regional and local) carries a risk for fragmentation in policy design? Is this an issue in your country? If so, how does the government go about overcoming this challenge?
  • The interview emphasizes the importance of the following: evidence-based measures, authentic experiences of what worked and what did not in the field, and early involvement of stakeholders in designing actions. Do you agree with these three aspects? Could you name more that can be more relevant to the context of your country?


4.2 Case study: Norway

Norway joined the OECD´s Skills Strategy project in 2012-2014. To follow-up the OECD Skills Strategy recommendations, the Norwegian Government decided to develop a new national skills strategy to improve the effectiveness of the system. In this document, prepared by the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research as a follow-up of the European New Skills Agenda, you can read how the plans for the new national strategy were created.

Notice that the authorities did not expect stakeholders to merely have an input in the new policy:


This is intended to be a joint strategy. The Government wants to develop a strategy in cooperation between ministries, social partners and other important skills policy actors. The strategy process is thus not intended as a process in which the social partners and others only provide input, but where we work together to arrive at good solutions. That is the ambition for the strategy work. The social partners and the most important other skills policy organizations in Norway will be invited to collaborate in order to develop the skills policy strategy.”


Notice also particularly chapter 2, entitled “Strengthening the skills of adults with poor skills”. National policy for the provision of basic skills for adults is intended to be at the core of the general skills policy.

The new Norwegian Strategy for National Skills Policy 2017-2021 aims to ensure that individuals have the skills to give Norway a competitive business sector, an efficient and sound public sector, and an inclusive labour market. Basic skills are an important element of the strategy.


Questions for reflection after reading about the Norwegian Strategy for National Skills Policy

  • How would you describe the preparation period for this new strategic document?
  • What would you have done differently? Why?
  • What would be the challenges and opportunities if you were to apply the same approach in your country?
  • Which stakeholders would you have invited to be part of the working group preparing a similar document in your country?


4.3 Case study: England and Wales.

The main stakeholders in any policy dealing with basic skills provision for adults are in the target group itself. The Citizens’ Curriculum, developed by Learning & Work, UK, is “an innovative, holistic approach to ensure everyone has the English, maths, digital, civic, health and financial capabilities they need. This approach taps into what motivates adults to learn, through giving learners a voice in co-designing curriculum content and careful contextualization, ensuring that more people are learning skills which are relevant to their lives and their work.”

The Citizens’ Curriculum was presented by Joyce Black, Deputy Director of Research and Development, Learning and Work Institute, at the EC-OECD Forum – Making adult learning work for the future, during the European Vocational Skills Week events in Vienna in November 2018.



For a more detailed presentation of the Citizens’ Curriculum see this presentation by Alex Stevenson, Head of English, Maths and ESOL, National Learning and Work Institute, England and Wales.

For further reading about this interesting approach, please see the report from Phase 2 of the implementation period. Notice the explanations on the proof of investment i.e. “Public value of outcomes” (section 4.5 pp 51-52).


Questions for reflection after studying the documentation on the Citizen’s Curriculum Approach

  • What do you think are the most innovative elements in this approach?
  • How would you involve local stakeholders in your country in the development of tailored provision schemes based on this approach?
  • Would your own national policy makers be interested in adapting the approach to your country? Why/why not?
  • How can one demonstrate return of investment in this initiative?
  • Do you know of any other European initiative based on a similar approach?


4.4 Case study: Germany

The German Federal Government and the Länder presented their joint National Decade for Literacy and Basic Skills to the wider public on September 8th, 2015, the World Literacy Day. This initiative sets the topics literacy and basic skills at the top of the education policy agenda. The Federal Government and the Länder collaborate closely with all partners of the National Strategy and all other interested social groups in order to “considerably reduce adult functional illiteracy in Germany and to raise the level of basic skills in general.”

You will find more information about the Alpha-Dekade in this blog by Timm Helten, published on EPALE in September 2017. Notice the five areas of action and the focus on awareness raising: “In order for prejudices and taboos to be dismantled and an interest in learning to be awoken, it is necessary to raise awareness among the public, those affected by these issues, and their immediate environment.”


Questions for reflection after studying the documentation on the German Alpha-Dekade.

  • What do you think are the most innovative elements in this approach?
  • Why is such a long-term strategy planning needed?
  • What are the five areas of action in this initiative?
  • Which of these areas of action do you think would be most important in your own country?


4.5 Case study: Ireland

Awareness raising about the issue of adult basic skills among the target group, the general public and the involved stakeholders is an important factor in any integrated and cohesive national policy in this field.

An EPALE article published in September of 2018 announces an “Irish Campaign launched to help people to improve their literacy and numeracy skills”. You can read more about this campaign and follow its results on the website of NALA, the Irish National Adult Literacy Agency, or study the website of the “Take the First Step” campaign.

For further reading we recommend this report from a previous similar campaign in Ireland.


Questions for reflection after studying the documentation on the Irish awareness campaigns.

  • Can you identify the main features of the approach to awareness-raising taken in Ireland?
  • Has there ever been an awareness raising campaign about the basic skills issue in your country? Do you see the need for it?
  • Which stakeholders in your country do you think should come together to plan similar initiatives?
  • How would you engage the interest of the target group?
  • Would you choose a different approach in your country? Why/why not?


Recommendations for further relevant resources are welcome in the comment section below!
The Capacity Building Series of EBSN provides free open educational resources (OERs) and massive online courses (MOOCs) through EPALE, to help the implementation of the European Commission recommendations on Upskilling pathways in EU Member States. EPALE is funded by the Erasmus+ programme, as part the European Commission’s ongoing commitment to improving the quality of adult learning provision in Europe. The project is implemented with the support of the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA).

Continue here:

List of ResourcesBack to the main page

Login (1)

Login or Sign up to join the conversation.

Want another language?

This document is also available in other languages. Please select one below.
Switch Language

Want to write a blog post ?

Don't hesitate to do so! Click the link below and start posting a new article!

Latest Discussions


Box of our Memories – Adult Education Caring for Memory Loss‘ (BooM) is an Erasmus+ project aimed to improve the availability of reminiscence-based, digital, informal adult education interventions for seniors. The project aims to do this by extending the necessary knowledge, skills and competences for adult educators working in diverse fields from informal carers and family members, to volunteers and educational staff working in museums and archives.