Adult learning and education (ALE) has a crucial role to play in helping Europe tackle diverse challenges, such as integrating migrants and responding to population ageing. These are challenges that European countries are facing and investing in ALE would help them seize the opportunities provided by it.
The third Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE III), published by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), seeks to answer this question by examining the state of ALE around the world. Drawing on a survey of 139 countries, including 33 from Europe, GRALE III finds that progress has been mixed since countries pledged to improve their ALE policies and practices in the 2009 Belém Framework for Action. The report finds that:
- 74% of the responding European countries (33 in total) say they have improved ALE policies since 2009.
- 27% say that they have an interdepartmental body to promote ALE for health.
- 39% say they spend more than 4% of their public education budgets on ALE. However, 21% say that they do not know what proportion of their budgets goes to ALE. Meanwhile, 48% say they have plans to increase spending on ALE.
- To improve the quality of ALE, EU countries need to track ALE’s social outcomes (such as health outcomes) as well as employment outcomes. Yet only 9% track the former, while 42% track the latter.
GRALE III also presents policymakers, researchers and practitioners with compelling evidence on the impact of ALE in three major policy domains: health and well-being; employment and the labour market; and social, civic and community life.
UIL is delighted to partner with EPALE, a multilingual open membership community for ALE professionals across Europe, on the European launch of GRALE III. This launch will take place during the annual meeting of EPALE’s National Support Services, which will bring together leading European experts responsible for promoting ALE across EU member states.
At the European launch of GRALE III, the Director of UIL, Mr Arne Carlsen, will present the report’s main findings, focusing on survey results, data, case examples and policy recommendations of particular relevance to the European region. Mr Carlsen will also present the major features of the Recommendation on Adult Learning and Education 2015 and share his views on how European countries can work towards the global ALE policy agenda.
The global launch of GRALE III was held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on International Literacy Day (8 September 2016). The European launch is part of a series of regional events to help promote ALE and highlight its important place in the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.