Adult Learning

Mennesker på café
Yadid Levy /
Lifelong learning for all is an important priority for Nordic co-operation on education. It covers all types of education, learning and lifelong skills enhancement in the traditional education system, in adult and continuing education, in ongoing vocational training as part of working life, and in a variety of other contexts in which people learn and develop their knowledge, skills and competencies.

One of the priorities for Nordic co-operation is to provide everybody with the opportunity to learn and develop throughout their life, e.g. by enhancing adults’ basic skills and knowledge, by promoting co-operation on knowledge and analysis of the key challenges in the field of adult education, by providing better opportunities for adults to complete an education, and by developing better frameworks for learning in the workplace.

Who is involved?

Two of the key players in Nordic co-operation in this area are the Nordic Network for Adult Learning (NVL) and Nordplus – the Nordic Council of Ministers’ biggest education programme in the lifelong learning sector.

NVL is a forum in which the Nordic countries learn from each other about practice and policy through networking, meetings, analyses, comparative studies and information activities, and by sharing models and methods that have proven effective in practice.

It also examines themes such as innovation in adult learning, workplace learning, guidance, validation and flexibility in study programmes.

The NVL newsletter contains articles about educational policy in the Nordic countries, information about new structures, reforms and initiatives as well as information about conferences in the Region. News items appear on the NVL website regularly as well. Sign up and NVL will send all eleven editions of the newsletter a year in Scandinavian, Finnish and Icelandic to your inbox. 

The Nordplus sub-programme Nordplus Adult works with general and vocational adult education. It strives to enhance adults’ key competencies, recognise informal and non-formal learning, and support adult education in order to meet the challenges of modern citizenship and to enhance interaction between adult education and working life. Nordplus funds exchange programmes and establishes networks and project partnerships between the Nordic and Baltic countries. All stakeholders, even those that fall outside NVL’s remit, are eligible to apply for funding for projects involving co-operation on adult learning. Nordplus Adult funds activities such as preparatory visits, student exchanges, teacher exchanges, networks and projects.

Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIACC)

The Nordic Council of Ministers has also funded a Nordic PIAAC network project and work on a Nordic PIACC report. Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIACC) is an OECD project. The Nordic PIACC report, published in mid-May 2015, covers Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Estonia.

During 2011–12, data was collated in 24 countries, and representative samples of the population aged 16–65 were interviewed and tested in basic skills in reading, arithmetic and problem-solving with IT. Among the Nordic report’s key findings is that, compared to the other PIACC countries, the Nordic countries are among the best in terms of basic competencies.

Contact information