Nowadays, adult education has become a powerful factor of economic development, increase of productivity and competitiveness of economy, improvement of employment and reduction of regional differences in economic development. Due to these reasons, there is an increasing accentuation of the importance of continuous education. We are progressively facing the phenomenon of changing the focus from formal to non-formal education. Even though, if we assume that formal education offers adequate knowledge necessary to people for successful job performance, rapid economic, technical, technological and social changes impose to individuals the request for permanent acquisition of new knowledge. Therefore, non-formal education has become one of the basic forms of satisfying educational needs of a human in modern age. It is often said that this type of education is aimed at complementing formal, i.e. traditional education which is unable to respond to the needs of contemporary humans due to its organizational form. In order to satisfy their own educational needs, people turn to alternative types of learning, while non-formal education actually enables them. Non-formal education entails a wide range of activities taken with a view to acquire new or upgrade the existing knowledge. The advantages of non-formal education are multifold, since they enable individuals to learn what suits them and what they need in order to improve their knowledge, techniques and skills. It is important to mention that three functions of such type of education in adult age are essential:
- adaptation and
The first function is related to the upgrade of earlier education and knowledge. The second one entails the adjustment to new life and work conditions, while the third one is related to intellectual and spiritual development of humans. Non-formal education for some people means a new chance, i.e. new beginning in their lives. Thus, adults are given the opportunity to improve and be recognized on the labour market. Adult education in XXI century has been gaining the role of one of the leading pillars of socio-economic development of a country. Special institutions on the national and European level are being established, as well as professional and advisory bodies engaged in adult education. The practice of regional and European networking has been intensified among institutions which create adult education policy and institutions which implement educational activities in practice. There is a tendency to create a single database and joint action framework of several countries for the sake of more intense promotion of adult education and creation of needed preconditions for the implementation of joint action plan on the national level.
There is a need for networking of institutions not only on the national level, but also on the European level. Open method of coordination and other mechanisms of networking of countries in the field of adult education, fully supported by the EU, may contribute to adult education becoming significant instrument of strengthening not only educational policies of countries, but also socio-economic prosperity on the European ground.