Why invest in adult education?
This analysis looks at the arguments to make towards policy-makers on why they should invest in adult education. It will analyse the economic case but also consider wider benefits such as health and well-being. This is meant to set the scene for the next steps of the arguments for investment. This output is meant to provide the arguments not only for adult education providers but also for policy-makers. Policy-makers in the field of adult education very often have to negotiate the funding with other ministries / departments / units who do not have sufficient understanding of the necessity for adult education. This part of the FinALE Advocacy Toolkit therefore supports anyone trying to make the societal but also economic case for adult learning.
The Thematic Working Group on financing adult education of the European Commission developed some preliminary indicators for funding policies and instruments. The intention of this output is to take this preliminary proposal a step further and establish solid indicators. Funding policies need to be assessed against the policy goals they want to achieve, and this intellectual output prepares the basis for this.
Stories by learners and adult educators - how does funding impact on individuals?
Funding policies and mechanisms have a very real impact on very real people. The connection between policies on the one hand and learners but also adult educators on the other hand often gets lost in policy developments. The project has developed vignettes about adult learners that show how adult education (and its financing) has had an impact on them. The intention is to show policy-makers that policy and especially funding mechanisms have an impact on real lives.
Where to invest?
Building on previous analysis (2011), AONTAS carried out a research to explore what parameters require funding in order to provide quality non-formal adult learning, from both a practitioners and learners' perspective. The research report brings together a quantitative and qualitative analysis, in addition to secondary analysis of current data and trends. A policy position paper was developed based on the outcomes of the research through a consultative meeting with practitioners and learners. During a national seminar in Porto, Portugal, the findings were discussed with key stakeholders.
In order to analyse funding policies and mechanisms for adult education, it is necessary to get a clear picture of what needs to be funded. There are numerous possibilities of where funds can go (and where they should go) - from direct support to learners to structural support to trainers etc. This analysis and proposal provides answers on how adult education provision is funded.
Best practices of funding tools
Across Europe, there are a number of funding tools - from block funding to vouchers and so on. Public authorities tend to be interested in the most efficient tools - but what exactly is efficiency when it comes to funding? How do the various tools work for providers and learners? Do they support the policy goals behind the funding mechanism? The partnership focused on local, regional and national tools and mechanisms that are being used in the partners' geographic reach but also on examples provided by the members of the partners.
Based on the analyses done earlier in the project, the partnership has developed policy recommendations on how to improve the financing of adult education. The recommendations from a civil society perspective take into account the provider and the learner, and target policy makers at local, regional, national and European levels, but also stakeholders and providers themselves.
Stakeholder mapping and cooperation
The project partners have also developed a chart of stakeholders who are concerned with / responsible for financing adult education.