Over the last years the European Commission and the Member States have tried to increase participation in adult learning, and develop efficient systems that reach all adults and involve all relevant stakeholders. Adult learning is a vital component of EU education policies, as it is essential for competitiveness and employability, social inclusion, active citizenship and personal development across Europe. Migrants, ethnic minorities, including the Roma, seniors and people with disabilities may suffer from lower levels of education and therefore be at higher risk of social exclusion. The challenge is to provide opportunities for all.
Still, many education providers struggle to attract all target groups, especially the marginalized, the vulnerable and the most disadvantaged ones. Given demographic patterns in Europe, it is urgent to extend learning opportunities over the adult life-course, offering all adults possibilities to renew their skills and competencies for life and work as the need arises. The inclusion of disadvantaged target groups (educationally deprived groups), who are in particular reached at a disproportionately low level, need to be addressed in a different manner than other. Adult learning strategies should rather focus on bringing these groups into the fold of mainstream society, before involving them into further education.
The Grundtvig learning partnership “Improving Participation in Adult Education” with partners from Belgium (EU WAREHOUSE, project coordinator), Germany (Vesbe e.V.), Lithuania (Global Ideas) and Slovakia (Škola dokorán n.o.) will examine the multi-level structural, situational and psychological barriers to participate in adult education, elaborate on awareness and motivation and collect transferable best practice for change.