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Promoting Adult Learning

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This publication provides policy guidance in an area that has been given little policy priority until recent years. It brings together key lessons from 17 OECD countries, providing evidence on the strategies in place to improve adults’ participation in learning. It addresses potential barriers to learning as well as the policies to remedy them. Among these are policies for increasing and promoting the benefits of adult learning to make them transparent and easily recognised. Other policy levers include economic incentives and co-financing mechanisms that can raise the efficiency of adult learning provision, while delivering quality learning that is adapted to adults’ needs. Finally, policy making can be improved via co-ordination and coherence in a field that is characterised by a wide variety of stakeholders, including ministries of education and ministries of labour.

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Ensuring Policy Co-ordination and Coherence

Adult learning is a complex policy field. Different stakeholders are involved in the policy definition and design process, such as ministries of education, labour and welfare, the social partners and other agencies. Decisions are made at central, regional or local level, and sometimes at different levels concurrently. The different types of stakeholders and levels of government involved may result in conflicting interests, policies that run counter to the objectives of improving adult skills, and wasteful public expenditures. To avoid duplication, ensure effective use of public finances and develop user-friendly systems, adult learning must be co-ordinated with related areas where policy will complement rather than conflict – i.e. initial education, employment and other social policies. The creation of adapted institutions for adult learning policy formulation and programme delivery and the establishment of clear policy priorities through target-setting are effective ways to get a diverse range of actors to work towards common goals.

English

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