An international conference was held on 7 September 2016 at the Zurich Pedagocial University (PH) in Switzerland, organised by André Schläfli of the Swiss Federation for Adult Learning. Other participants on behalf of the FinALE project were Gina Ebener of EAEA and Gerhad Bisovsky of the Austrian Folk Highschool Association. Particiants were about 150 adult education professionals. The conference focused on several aspects and instruments of financing adult education.
This led to the following conclusions:
1. Adult education is effective, and investments in adult education by the state, the economic sector and also individuals pay off.
2. The effects of adult education overlap to the greatest extent possible with the effects of initial education. The transfer of learning outcomes obtained from adult education is more direct and also quicker than in initial education or training that is part of the formal educational system. Adult learners are already employed or accept a new job soon after successfully completing a continuing education programme and put their knowledge and skills into practice immediately. Non-formal adult education in particular can react very quickly to new requirements and promotes innovation in this context with workplace related learning. In addition, adult education builds bridges to the formal educational system and offers paths of learning to the higher education system and in the tertiary sector. One study by the German Institute for Adult Education (DIE) and the Institute for Education and Socio-Economic Research and Consulting concludes that adult education is particularly significant for innovation .
3. Particularly important are the key competences that provide the basis for the educational system. Adult education makes it possible to refresh and upgrade one's key qualifications since they change in reaction to technological and economic development.
4. Adult education has an effect on the individual, the economy and society.
5. The most important is to keep people in the labour market and help them adapt to technological developments.
6. The most important financial tools are bilateral fonds, own investment of people and employers, and tax deduction.
7. The law in Switzerland favours demand-orientated funding
9. In Switzerland even low qualified people have to pay for courses such as numeracy courses, the law is supposed to gradually change this difficult situation
Pictures from the Zurich conference