Adult Education

In October 2006, the European Commission issued its Communication "It's never too late to learn", calling on the Member States to promote adult learning in Europe, which it identified as a crucial element of the European lifelong learning strategy. EUCEN's formal response to this communication. The participation of adults in lifelong learning provision remains weak in most European countries with education and training systems largely focused on young people. To address this, the Commission urged Member States to develop an effective adult learning system and proposed in September 2007 an Action Plan on Adult Learning considering five key challenges to be achieved by 2010. The five key challenges are:

  • analyse the effects of reforms in all sectors of education and training in Member States on adult learning;
  • improve the quality of provisions in the adult learning sector;
  • increase the possibilities for adults to go "one step up" - to achieve a qualification at least one level higher than before;
  • speed up the process of assessment of skills and social competences and have them validated and recognised in terms of learning outcomes;
  • improve the monitoring of adult learning sector.

This initiative was supported by the European Parliament in its report on the proposal for an Action Plan for Adult Learning and in its Resolution on 16 January 2008, where it "urges" Member States to introduce a lifelong learning culture, primarily focussing on education and training for adults, by implementing policies and actions geared to promoting the acquisition of knowledge and making it more attractive and accessible, and updating qualifications".
In February 2008, the Commission (facilitated by its Adult Education Unit) established a Working Group, involving Member States, European social partners and stakeholder networks (including EUCEN), to promote the development of  further actions to achieve the objectives of the Adult Learning Action Plan.