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Increasing Adult Learning Participation

Learning from Successful Reforms

image of Increasing Adult Learning Participation

Countries need to urgently scale-up and upgrade their adult learning systems to help people adapt to the future world of work. Today, only two in five adults across the EU and OECD participate in education and training in any given year, according to the OECD Survey of Adults Skills. Participation is even lower among disadvantaged adults, such as those with low skill levels or in jobs at high risk of automation. For adult learning systems to be future-ready, governments must increase their efforts to engage more adults in continuous learning throughout their lives.

While much has been written about the need for progress, it is less clear how adult learning participation can be increased in practice. Many good ideas struggle to translate into real change on the ground, as they get stuck in the reality of policy implementation. This report aims to understand the factors that make adult learning reforms succeed. It identifies lessons from six countries that have significantly increased participation over the past decades: Austria, Estonia, Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands and Singapore. To shed light on how these countries achieved this objective, this study looks at the details of reform design, implementation and evaluation.

English

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Executive summary

Policy-makers have long recognised that adults’ participation in learning is key to unlocking the benefits of a changing world of work. However, only two in five adults across the EU and OECD participate in education and training in any given year, according to the OECD Survey of Adults Skills (PIAAC). While much has been written about the need for progress in this area, it is less clear how adult learning participation can be increased in practice. Comparative research on adult learning policy has focused on identifying lessons from countries with highly developed adult learning systems and high participation rates, such as the Nordic countries. This report takes a different approach by analysing what made adult learning reforms succeed in six countries where participation in adult learning was not necessarily high, but did increase significantly over the past decades, i.e. Austria, Estonia, Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands and Singapore.

English

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