Declaration of Rights of Adults in Education

The Declaration of Rights of Adults reprinted below is one of the principal outcomes of the Socrates project "Bill of Rights of Participants in Adult Education". This project was coordinated by FACEPA (Federation of Cultural and Educational Associations for Adults), a Spanish organization which works in the field of culture and education for adults with the aim of overcoming social and educational inequalities by promoting participation. The project was conducted jointly with Belgian and Dutch partners.

Participants’ Bill of Rights


Education, an inalienable right of adults, has to serve as an instrument for emancipation, which makes possible the overcoming of social inequalities and power relations.

Education depends on the recognition and the dialogue between different cultures and life styles that coexist in a given community.

By considering as participants all those adults in the course of training, we propose the following Participants’ Bill of Rights.

Article one

It is a right of the participants that the states officially recognise and support all the tuition imparted in public centers of adult education and in non-profit non-governmental organizations. We demand from the governments a greater consideration of it in the states’ general budgets on an educational basis.

Article two

Collectives liable to social exclusion have to be considered as having priority in all acts of training and social participation. Adult education has to answer the necessities of the community, as well as of those who endure problems of labour insertion.

Article three

Any person has the life-long right to participate in free training processes and to have access and be present in all learning offers directed to achieve all the prevailing qualifications in the educational system of each country. To achieve this, the various public administrations should contribute to the human, material and economic resources needed by the institutions, communities, and people.

Article four

It is a right of the participants to intervene in the educational policies, as well as in the conferences, assemblies, and forums where aspects related to the education of adults and cultural and social participation in general are undertaken.

Article five

The participants have the right to intervene in all local development projects by collaborating with the institutions, associations, and community collectives on improving the quality of life in the social scene.

Article six

Adult education has to be adequate to the interests, motivations, and necessities of the participants. The programmes, methodologies, timetables, human resources, and materials have to be those specific for adult tuition.

Article seven

The definition of the training offer, the design of the educational programmes and their evaluation should be worked on from an egalitarian dialogue between all the participants.

The information about the training offered must be issued using all the channels of communication available in order to be accessible to everyone.

Article eight

All the participants have the right to be part of the organs for internal management of the centres, projects, and educational experiences. This means that the management has to be open and democratic and that the participants will be present as full members.

Article nine

It is a right of the participants to receive an integral and permanent education, which will allow them to cope with the constant changes in society such as transformations in the working world, the access to the new technologies, creative occupation of the spare time, and so on.

Article ten

The education of adults has to reinforce the self-esteem, tolerance, respect for diversity, and changes in society from the development of a critical spirit.

Article eleven

All cultures have to receive the same egalitarian treatment. Adult education has to collect the history and experiences of all the cultures in the community with a view to an intercultural dialogue.

Article twelve

The participants have the right to the recognition of capacities, knowledge, and abilities, which have been acquired from experiences throughout life. The public administrations, together with the participants, have the duty of searching for a formula to recognise and do credit to those aptitudes.

Article thirteen

All adults must receive information about their rights to education.

The participants in adult education want rights that will permit us to have an education adapted to our needs and interests, and defined through consensus.


(Federation of Cultural and Educational Associations for Adults)
Avda. Francesc Cambó, 14, 8F
08003, Barcelona

Tel: +93 315 29 69
Fax: +93 310 05 47


Lire et écrire Communautaire
Rue Antoine Dansaert 2ª
1000 Bruxelles

Tel: +32 2 502 72 01
Fax: +32 2 502 85 56

Agency for European Folk High School Work
P.O. Box 367, 3800 AJ Amersfoort
The Netherlands

Tel: +31 33 465 41 16
Fax: +31 33 465 41 16

With support from

European Commission
Adult Education Area
Socrates Programme
Declaration of Rights of Adults in Education

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