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Is adult learning needed in your country? What benefits does it bring and what is the evidence?

létrehozta Markus Palmén

/hu/file/adult-learning-policy-discussionAdult learning Policy Discussion

Adult learning Policy Discussion


Is adult learning needed in your country? What benefits does it bring and what is the evidence? What are the different kinds of adults and their learning needs? EPALE would love to hear your thoughts on these questions and more in this online discussion.

Share your opinion on any of the topics below and engage with your peers from across Europe in this online discussion moderated by EPALE Thematic Coordinator Markus Palmén.

  • What does ‘adult education’ mainly mean in your country for the everyday citizen? What is the main mental association?
    • One way to classify adult education could be to divide it into formal, non-formal, and informal. Does one type of adult education dominate in your country? Is this classification relevant?
  • What are the different types of adult learners in your country and what needs do they have?
    • How can adult learning best cater for these groups’ needs?
  • Who are the main providers of adult education in your country? How are they funded? Who sets the pedagogic agenda and syllabi?
  • What impact does adult education have in your country? To your knowledge, what evidence is there of this impact?
  • Who advocates for and promotes adult education in your country?

** Share your thoughts with the community in the comments below by 28 September!

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21 - 30/43 megjelenítése
Etelberto Costa képe
In Portugal - one of the most needed EU countries for AE/LLL is reassuming a national strategy in cooperation with OCDE and EC.

The lauching of the QUALIFICA centers (dependency on the National Agency - ANQEP) and some European funding for them are the most important notice.
However it figures that a LLL strategy vision is still missing and specially for entreprises that in our country are mostly (98%) SMEs. Most of the entrepeneurs don't assume the costs for training and look for state subsidies that come slowly and shortly and supported by EU funds. 
I choose for this intervention the great role that RUTIS ( - a network of so called Seniors Universities that are dedicating resources and volunteering for senority adult learning. 
Markus Palmén képe
This is good news! If I remember correctly AE in Portugal took a hard hit some years back when the network of New Opportunity Centres was dismantled completely and a big part of AE disappeared. It seems that the trend is reversed. Can you explain what brought about this change for the better? 
Maria Manuel Mano Casal Ribeiro képe
Yes, this new launching of Qualifica centers is no doubt a plus to tackle early school leaving and it helps to motivate to further training or education paths.
Markus Palmén képe
A short re-cap of the first week of the discussion for people just joining the discussion: we are just getting started, and we will devote a second week to this same question/theme.

Contributions so far have focused on national forms of AE, on adult learner groups and, through them, the underlying values of adult education. Adult learning is seen as a way to "bridge gaps" in society, as a way of making sure that people integrating into a society or people at risk of marginalisation stay on board. Immigrants are mentioned, as well as senior citizens and special groups such as inmates.  

We´ve briefly also touched upon the labour market aspect of adult education: Lifelong learning as a prerequisite for a skilled and flexible work force.  

Given this double task, it would be very interesting to hear more comments on who funds AE in your countries, and whether this funding is secure at the moment? This has direct links to the societal impact of AE, ie. the "value for money" or "return on investment" it offers.  How is impact measured or talked about in your countries?
Laura Austen-Gray képe
The Education and Training Boards provide the majority of AE courses in Ireland. AE is funded by a variety of sources in Ireland, including government, non-profits and the learner. Some employers will also help employees to fund AE. 

While there are government grants/subsidies available for many courses, such as Springboard, a large proportion of these are in areas where there is a skills shortage, such as IT. 

For some course, particularly with evening courses, (which may be partially subsidized) the learner may have to pay for all/some of it. 

Many educational organisations, such An Cosan Virtual Community College, keep fees low but also offer bursaries for learners who would otherwise struggle to pay. However, there is typically not enough bursaries to meet demands.  

The government also supports those in AE through other initiatives such as the back-to-education allowance and that unemployed persons may be able to keep their social welfare payments while in education. 
Markus Palmén képe
Laura, many thanks for your overview of the field in Ireland! May I ask, what is the number one discussion topic in the adult education field in Ireland at the moment?
Małgorzata Mazurek képe
I think there is a need for better organized foreign language education for adults. This is one of those areas of education which can really be life-long. It seems to me that it is organized mostly in the in-company model which is at times chaotic, ineffective, random. And the need to effectively learn foreign languages is real, and often decides about employment.
Markus Palmén képe
Thank you Malgorzata! Languages are indeed a subject that has obvious relevance for both the labour market and for learners´personal lives. For this reason in e.g. Finnish non-formal AE languages remain to be among the most popular courses. You mentioned that in Poland the in-company AE is poorly planned. Would you like to elaborate: why is this?  
Małgorzata Mazurek képe
From my experience on such courses as a teacher and from what I hear from my colleagues and sometimes participants, such courses are rarely effective, someone must be really motivated to learn to benefit from them. Otherwise the courses might be either not adjusted to particular needs of learners, or organized in such times that learners are either too tired or to busy to be able to come to class. My experience shows that no matter how the teachers or a language school try to care for quality of this learning there is always some kind of a gap in the system. The employer pays the school and wants results, but doesn't make sure employees are able to come to class (busy with their duties usually) or doesn't control the content of the course. There surely must be exceptions, but it seems to me that good quality cooperation is difficult here.
Markus Palmén képe
Thank you for the elaboration Malgorzata! It seems there is a lack of dialogue between learners, education providers, and those who pay for the education. A familiar situation elsewhere as well, I´m sure.