Title: Towards an improved adult learning monitoring framework. Revisiting the available data and indicators
Publisher: Publications Office of the European Union
Publication Year: 2020
JRC N°: JRC119018
ISBN: 978-92-76-10222-9 (online)
ISSN: 1831-9424 (online)
Other Identifiers: EUR 30069 EN
OP KJ-NA-30069-EN-N (online)
URI: https://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC119018
DOI: 10.2760/160673
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: Adult education is recognised as an essential driver of economic growth and social development within the European Union and has been a political priority for nearly two decades. It is deemed to play a pivotal role to create better jobs in Europe, improve quality of life and promote individual development, personal fulfillment and active citizenship. A number of Commission initiatives in the recent past have underscored the importance of adult learning. In particular, the European Pillar of Social Rights, proclaimed and signed by the Council of the EU, the European Parliament and the Commission during the Gothenburg Social Summit for fair jobs and growth announced the right to quality and inclusive education, training, and life-long learning as its very first principle. In addition, as part of the Education and Training 2020 (ET2020) strategy, EU Member States have agreed on a common target to increase participation in adult learning in the EU. Fostering adult learning is now more important than ever because of three concurrent factors: technological change, population ageing and global migration flows. Technological change, and in particular automation and digitisation, affecting the world of work by altering or erasing certain tasks, often the most repetitive and standardised, and creating new ones. Adult and learning is essential to ensure that workers, and especially older ones, are equipped with the necessary skills throughout their lifetime, so that they can thrive in a constantly changing labour market. Similarly, in the context of population ageing, adult learning and continuing education become crucial as they can provide older people with the capabilities they need to stay in work well into their sixties and seventies. Finally, adult learning has a central role to play in a context of international migration, since it can be a tool to support the linguistic, social and cultural integration of immigrants. . The "Education and Training 2020" (ET 2020) strategic framework is a crucial tool to monitor participation in adult learning; it set the average participation rate in adult learning at 15% of the population aged 25-64 by 2020. Yet, so far, only a few Member States have reached the benchmark. Furthermore, to underpin the adult learning target and support its monitoring within the European Semester, in 2018 Member States approved a comprehensive framework, developed by the Commission, for benchmarking adult skills and adult learning systems in the EU,. This report aims to reflect on the performance of the existing ET 2020 benchmark on adult participation in learning, by comparing cross-country patterns of participation using different sources of data. In particular, this report provides empirical evidence on participation in adult learning, with a specific focus on different subgroups, such as older people or others belonging to groups that are traditionally excluded from learning, which are identified as a priority by the European Council’s “Renewed European Agenda for Adult Learning” (EEAL). The report also discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the current data source used to create the indicators, i.e. the EU Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS) and extended coverage of adult learning in the EU-LFS as of 2022, enabling improved indicators, and further introduces the possibility to create other indicators based on different, complementary data sources, such as the Adult Education Survey (AES), the Continuing Vocational Training Survey (CVTS), the OECD Survey on Adult Skills (PIAAC), and others.
JRC Directorate:Growth and Innovation

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