Background

Research has shown that the European adult education system has failed to meet the educational needs of many vulnerable groups, such as people with low levels of basic or functional literacy, with deficient language and cultural skills (ethnic minority members, foreign newcomers), those who have dropped out of school and those not in education or training due to disability.

Representatives of ethnic minority groups and foreign newcomers, in particular, are often at serious risk of social exclusion. They may be excluded from the labour market due to lack of adequate language or professional skills or because their qualifications are not recognized by the receiving societies.

In this context the situation of adult education in Europe needs to be reviewed in order to find the matching solutions for addressing vulnerable young people. Adult education should take account of the diverse cultural backgrounds of minority people and actively involve them in educational initiatives that match their learning needs. Those with low levels of basic and functional literacy, those not in education and training or those in situations of near social exclusion could be helped with adequate adult education policies.