Beyond Rhetoric

Adult Learning Policies and Practices

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This publication aims to identify what works in the policy and practice of adult learning, drawing on the experience of nine OECD countries: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom (England). It defines the features of a desirable system of adult learning, including ways to motivate adults to learn and methods to deliver appropriate services. This book will be indispensable to policy makers and those involved in the practice of adult learning.

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Overview of Country Policies and Practices

As part of the wider perspective of lifelong learning, adult learning has in recent years slowly begun to be mainstreamed into education and human resource policies. It is now clearly recognised as an important tool for equity and social cohesion, for economic and social development in knowledge-based societies, for reducing unemployment and skills shortages, for personal development, and for furthering citizenship and democratic values. This chapter will show that all countries visited for the thematic review have taken some type of specific policy measure targeting adult learning at the national level. These range from general action plans to increase learning opportunities for all adults, to more specific programmes designed to upgrade skills, target particular adult sub-groups of the population or increase training opportunities for those in the labour force. A number of these reforms are also geared towards improving the performance and efficiency of adult education in a more integrated approach that is learner-centred. Efforts have been made towards greater system efficiency through providing general frameworks for policy development, improving co-ordination among different (including the social) partners, rationalising existing supply, focusing on cost effectiveness, and taking greater account of individual needs. Decentralisation has been an important aspect of this process...

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