In November 2021, the EU Council of Ministers adopted the new European Agenda for Adult Learning (EAAL). DVV International and the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) contributed significantly to shaping the content.

Understanding adult education holistically

The new agenda defines the political framework for the further development of Adult Learning and Education (ALE) up to 2030. Its goals and objectives guide the work of the European Commission. Fortunately, the EAAL―in contrast to the agenda of 2011―is based on a holistic understanding of ALE. This applies, for example, to the equal value placed on formal, non-formal and informal educational opportunities, as well as to the statement that ALE not only makes decisive contributions in the areas of vocational qualification and basic education, but also nurtures social cohesion, helps individuals cope with pandemics and climate crises, and enhances personal development.

In addition, the Agenda draws attention to the central role of well-equipped and professional guidance services, especially for educationally disadvantaged groups. The (further) development of certification systems for non-formal knowledge is also explicitly emphasised. This is the only way to strengthen the transitions between different educational offers.

Increased funding and participation in education

It is encouraging that the Agenda recognises that reliable funding for the providers of ALE is an indispensable prerequisite for qualitative and sustainable services. The same applies to continuous training and further education for trainers and managers working in the ALE sector. This is the only way to achieve the Agenda goals of 47% participation in educational offers in 2025 and 60% in 2030. One unfortunate detail is that the age group between 25 to 64 years of age was defined as the reference point and thus older individuals remain excluded. We are committed to do more advocacy in this area since ALE offers many benefits for this group as well.

Furthermore, national coordinators will accompany the implementation of the agenda. A continuation of the Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe (EPALE) is also planned. Both are good prerequisites for ALE to be able to rely on European tailwind in the coming years. DVV International and EAEA will accompany the implementation of the Agenda closely and critically.

European Agenda for Adult Learning 2021-2030

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