The year 2020 was fundamentally influenced by the global pandemic, which altered the working conditions of many adult education providers across Europe. The crisis exacerbated existing forms of inequality, but also drew attention to the pressing needs of our time: equitable access to quality education, strengthening critical thinking, health literacy and social cohesion. The COVID-19 crisis brought unprecedented challenges to the adult learning communities across Europe but was also an opportunity to accelerate the digital transition.
2020 was a year in which many programs came to an end, but also a year of rapid adaptation to crisis and paving the way for new beginnings. European policy discourse was important in terms of funding but priorities in 2020 centered around national challenges. Across countries, disadvantaged parts of the population continue to be left behind, especially in terms of basic and digital skills. Our findings reveal that enhancing access and inclusion requires investing in digital infrastructure, the didactic skills of the adult educators in and beyond the online environment, as well as establishing new methods for outreach and learner engagement. Validation schemes are key to enhance recognition and ensure that adult learning is anchored in education policy and practice.
The powerful voice of civil society resurfaced as solidarity during the pandemic and the responses to the country reports, yet again, highlighted the importance of a strong civil society. We are proud to say that EAEA’s vision to widen access to and participation in adult education is growing. As depicted in recent research by CEDEFOP, it is no longer a secret that citizens demand governments to prioritise investment in adult learning.
2020’s country reports are based on responses from 44 members across 31 countries and depict the diversity of experience across the European adult learning and education sector. As announced in 2019, from now on we will publish the country reports in a digital format. This will not only allow EAEA to continuously develop on the data, but it also enables users to find and compare information through thematic tags, enhancing accessibility for all. This new format enables comparison over and across the years and allows organisations and policy makers to estimate trends, as well as find innovative practices and inspiration for ambitious policy reforms.
Read the country reports on our dedicated website countryreport.eaea.org