05.10.2015 IN FOCUS

European adult educators share many challenges

Funding, integration and education of migrants and development of basic skills for low-skilled and low-educated learners are challenges all over Europe, reveals EAEA’s new publication 'Adult Education in Europe – A Civil Society View 2015'.

Annually, EAEA launches a survey for its members to create specific country reports for various European countries.

"By asking our members and other adult education providers to answer a range of questions on the state of adult education in their country, we want to create accessible overviews that will help us to connect with one another, learn from each other and ultimately provide new insights and information to be used in advocacy work, on all levels," says Gina Ebner, the EAEA Secretary General.

For EAEA’s membership, the publication is useful to inform colleagues across Europe – but also policy makers at different levels – on what they think about the main developments in adult education in their countries. It is also useful to compare their situation with other organisations in Europe.

Struggling with finances

The responses of 2015 survey show that three main topics were central issues for the European adult education scene in 2015: funding, integration and education of migrants and development of basic skills for low-skilled and low-educated learners.

In most European countries the financial situation and strength of adult education providers is unsatisfactory.
"Either they are struggling with national or local stakeholders and authorities to gain sufficient public funding for their work; or their funding is threatened through cuts in the general public budgets which also affect the field of education," Ms. Ebner says.

Migrants have special learning needs

Due to the conflicts in many regions of the Middle-East and Africa and the intensified inner-European mobility, numbers of migrants participating in adult education have increased a lot.

The needs and demands of this group of learners differ from the expectations of traditional participants. Key topics in the programmes for migrants are the acquisition of language skills and knowledge about the culture and labour market of their new host and home country.
"It has become necessary for adult education providers to both redesign their programmes accordingly and to further educate and train their trainers," says Ms. Ebner.

Basic skills in the centre of project work

As a result of the European economic crisis, the conditions in many European labour markets are still tense, especially for low-qualified people. Many projects were established to enable these people to (re-)integrate into society and economy through the provision of basic skills. A second crucial goal of programmes aiming at low-educated learners is to (re-)familiarize them with learning.

"Many people of this target group weren’t reached by the formal education system. That’s why non-formal adult education providers took up the mission to support their participants in gaining new skills," explains Ms. Ebner.

Text and picture: EAEA

Download a PDF version of 'Adult Education in Europe – A Civil Society View 2015

More on this topic

EAEA Policy Reports
EAEA country reports show the state of adult education in Europe 7 October 2014