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Specific challenge: It is obvious that investing appropriately in lifelong learning will contribute to overcoming the economic and social crisis and meeting the Europe 2020 targets on employment, poverty reduction, education, sustainability, innovation. The need and markets for adult education (after initial education and training) are thus likely to rise in the coming years. However, despite sustained attention over the years, adult education in Europe remains inadequate. Firstly, it is now well documented that those who are more in need of adult education, such as young, unemployed, low skilled, disabled and vulnerable workers, actually benefit less from adult education opportunities than other more advantaged groups. Secondly, the costs of adult education are footed largely by enterprises and individuals/families while the public resources invested are largely less than the private ones: this fragmentation actually shows the persistent weakness and ineffectiveness of adult education policies.
In this context, it is important to review thoroughly the situation of adult education in Europe and look for ways to take the most out of the numerous initiatives taken by a large number of often isolated actors. Such policy and programme learning should as a priority address young people, in particular those with low levels of basic and functional literacy, those not in education or training or those in situations of near social exclusion, who could be helped much more effectively if adequate adult education policies were designed.
Scope: The research will address adult education in general (for all ages), with a specific focus on young adults and vulnerable groups (from an indicative age of 18 and after leaving initial education and training)after entry into working life.. It will consider the complementarity between public policies and dynamics of private markets in the EU market and will analyse actors, dynamics, trends, mismatches and overlaps. A historical perspective on lifelong learning (e.g. in the 19th century urban areas) will add to a comprehensive analysis.
The research will identify successful programmes which are demonstrating to improve learning outcomes, particularly those reaching out to young adults at risk of social exclusion and other vulnerable groups, and address their transferability to other countries/regions. Diversity issues (gender, culture, ethnicity, language etc.) should be considered as well.
The research will also address the learning potential and innovation ability in workplaces (organisational models that favour innovation ability and innovative oriented training) and the effectiveness of learning actions.