European Council adopts a renewed European Agenda for Adult Learning

Tue 29 Nov 2011 04:13:00 PM EET

In the face of constant change and the consequences of the economic crisis, adults regularly need to enhance their personal and professional skills and competences. Given the current instability in the labour market and the need to reduce social exclusion, this applies particularly to the low skilled and the low qualified. However, all adults can benefit significantly from lifelong learning.

Today's adoption by the Education Council of a Resolution on a renewed European Agenda for Adult Learning consolidates policy in the field of adult learning under the four strategic objectives of "ET2020", the framework for European cooperation in education and training. Aimed at enabling all adults to develop and enhance their skills and competences throughout their lives, it builds on the achievements of the Action Plan on Adult Learning (2008-2010), and complements existing policy initiatives in the areas of school education, higher education (Bologna process) and vocational education and training (Copenhagen process).

Adult learning can make a significant contribution to Europe 2020, and its goals of reducing early leaving from education and training to below 10% and ensuring that at least 40% of young adults complete tertiary or equivalent education. Particular attention is paid to the high number of low-skilled Europeans targeted in Europe 2020, starting with literacy, numeracy and second chance measures. The priorities set out for 2012-14 focus on advancing the agenda at national, regional and local level.

What's new?

The EU vision for adult learning systems in 2020 is characterised by increased demand for access to high quality learning opportunities at any time in life and an enhanced role for local authorities, employers, social partners, civil society and cultural organisations.

The new Agenda emphasises:

  • autonomy of the learner but also responsibility for his/her learning pathway and outcomes;
  • learning later in life to promote active, autonomous and healthy ageing among seniors and using their knowledge and experience for the benefit of society;
  • greater access to higher education for adults;
  • developing new skills necessary for active participation in modern society;
  • solidarity between different age groups, between cultures and people of all backgrounds;
  • designation of national coordinators to facilitate cooperation with the European Commission and effective liaison with multiple stakeholders in each country.


Text: European Commission News

Full text of the new Agenda