20.12.2023

EAEA Country Reports reveal 5 key trends emerging in adult education in Europe

The 2023 EAEA Country Reports provide a civil society view on recent developments in adult learning and education in Europe. This year, the reports also spotlight learner stories. The reports illustrate that national adult education policies have a strong focus on labour market needs, and adult learners lack opportunities to influence policy making.

Imagine arriving in a new country without speaking the language. Having to reinvent your career in the midst of a war. Leaving school because of an illness without being able to get a diploma.

All of that happened to Fakhra, Oleksandra and Kayla. What was the turning point in their stories? Adult education. Yet, more needs to be done so that everyone can access quality education at any age and transform their life.

Members of the EAEA, which have supported the learning journeys of Fakhra, Oleksandra and Kayla (and thousands of others), take stock of the state of adult education in the 2023 Country Reports.

Published today, the Country Reports provide a picture of the state of adult learning and education (ALE) in 27 countries. The Reports are the result of several months of research and are compiled annually based on data collected in collaboration with EAEA’s members.

Key highlights of the EAEA Country Reports 2023

  1. Civil society organisations in adult education are pioneering a wide range of new projects and initiatives on topical issues, including the green transition, community building and inclusion. This signals the vitality and potential of the sector, despite financial difficulties and multiple societal crises.
  2. National ALE policies focus mostly on employment and labour market needs. Education for well-being and health, democracy and sustainability is less valued across Europe, despite the scale of societal challenges like the green transition and the recent Covid-19 pandemic.
  3. In a majority of countries, adult learners lack sufficient opportunities to express their views and cannot participate in adult education policy making processes.
  4. While most civil society organisations are aware of Erasmus+ funding opportunities, a considerable number of EAEA members report that lack of capacity and organisational resources to apply to the programme remain a concern, in particular for smaller NGOs.
  5. There are insufficient levels of funding for adult learning and education, especially at the national and local level, in most countries examined. The majority of EAEA’s members surveyed consider that many people still cannot participate in ALE, especially those coming from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Read the EAEA Country Reports 2023 on our dedicated website

This year, the Country Reports also feature the stories of incredible learners such as Fakhra, Oleksandra and Kayla, illustrating the impact of adult education on people’s lives.

For more information about the Country Reports, please contact Raffaela Kihrer, EAEA Deputy Secretary-General and Head of Policy, raffaela.kihrer(at)eaea.org or Davide Muraro, EAEA Policy & Project Coordinator, davide.muraro(at)eaea.org.

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The European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) is the voice of non-formal adult education in Europe. EAEA is a European NGO with 120 member organisations in 43 countries and represents more than 60 million learners Europe-wide.

Text: Davide Muraro

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In a recent survey conducted across adult learning and education (ALE) organisations in Europe in the framework of the Path2EU4AE project, a concerning revelation has emerged: many organisations lack crucial information about various European Union funding programmes available to them. While the Erasmus+ programme is widely known and used in the sector, other funding programmes such as CERV (Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values) and Creative Europe are still largely unknown to many organisations.

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Stop taxing the right to adult learning and education!

The national and regional interpretations of the European Union's VAT Directive lead to financial uncertainties and problems for many ALE organisations in Europe. We demand a revision of the VAT Directive to exempt non-formal and non-commercial adult learning and education from VAT.