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Financing Adult Learning and Education
Start date: Dec 31, 2015, End date: Dec 30, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

In most European countries, financing (non-formal) adult education remains problematic. In contrast to the formal system, the sources of financing are fragmented. On the side of public authorities, there is a distribution across different ministries, regional and local authorities and communes. Employers obviously play an important role as do public employment services. In many countries, the learners themselves contribute through fees. There are a number of different mechanisms and tools, which can be targeted at learners directly or at providers. Whilst the cost of many learning offers remain an obstacle for many Europeans (especially younger or older people or persons with low educational attainments as highlighted by the Adult Education Survey), funding for adult education has been under increased pressure due to the financial crisis, and even a country like Finland is cutting funds for education. This is in contrast with the clear need to increase participation in lifelong learning. The PIAAC results have shown that at least 20% of Europeans lack basic skills, and the benchmark for participation has decreased in the last few years rather than made progress. There is an urgent need - and recent survey among EAEA members confirms the importance of this - to find answers for questions such as: why do we need to invest in adult education? What are the indicators for funding? Where is investment needed? Which instruments work? Which funding mechanisms can engage (more) new learners? A working group of the European Commission worked on this topic in 2012/13. This project is a reaction and follow-up on this work. The consortium believes that there is a need to look into this topic from the point of view of civil society only and to update what has been achieved to make proposals for policy and financing practice that focuses on the providers and learners. Indeed, the partnership believes that there is an urgent need across Europe to • improve funding of adult education • improve efficiency of policies and public expenditure to reconcile the need for sound public finance and funding growth-friendly investments from providers and learners points of views • propose innovative solutions that can help to improve efficiency and the quality of public spending in education and training • improve the knowledge about funding instruments and how they work and for whom • to increase our knowledge of why and where to invest and then implement the funding instruments • continue the debate across Europe about participation in lifelong learning and especially of groups that currently do not participate and how to finance this participation The objective of the project is to provide a set of analyses (such as 'why invest in adult education', indicators for financing adult education, where to invest, etc.) and policy recommendations targeted at policy-makers of all levels (European, national, regional, local, communal) and at providers to be used as advocacy tools. The partnership would like to monitor and analyse adult education policies and funding instruments and make proposals on how to improve them. This knowledge also benefits providers and adult education organisations as they will be able to use the analyses and recommendations in their own work. The partnership believes that this peer learning aspect across Europe will contribute to finding the best solutions for adult education in Europe by drawing on European best practices to establish key indicators for monitoring and evaluating use of resources.

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