17.12.2015 IN FOCUS

EAEA: Improvements needed for Erasmus+ in the field of adult education

EAEA monitors the Erasmus+ programme regularly. With input from its members and partners, EAEA has now produced a feedback document that highlights the flaws of the programme and gives recommendations on what needs to be improved from the viewpoint of adult learning.

Adult education and learning is vital for a properly functioning and democratic society, but the sector is still grossly under-valued and consequently under-funded compared with the other main parts of the education and training system. In the Erasmus+ programme, under 4% of the total budget is assigned to adult learning, compared with 12%, 17% and 33% for schools, vocational training and higher education respectively.

The fact that adult education has been forced into a 'one size fits all' approach to the programme (a.k.a. 'simplification') has led to a lose-lose situation for applicants. The application guidelines and forms are too complicated for newcomers and inevitably lead to irrelevant questions. Simplification in this sense has not happened.

In 2015, it seems that many of the bigger projects that were approved received cuts in their budgets, some of them up to 50%. Despite the cuts, partnerships are still expected to do the full work plan. A number of organisations have now given up on strategic partnerships (KA2) as a result. Learning partnerships have disappeared (and they were perfect for smaller organisations and partnerships), and now also larger projects are suffering.

This is beginning to give rise to widespread disenchantment of the adult education community. A lot of grassroots cooperation across Europe is now disappearing.

It is therefore absolutely essential to increase the funds available to the adult education part of the Erasmus+ and also to improve the programme in general. Erasmus+ is a key tool for European adult learning to flourish but it has to be adapted to the needs of the sector.

Read the full feedback document, containing a detailed analysis on the KA1 (mobilities) and KA2 (strategic partnerships) funding opportunities.

More on this topic:

EAEA Policy page on Erasmus+