What can we learn from other countries?

October 10, 2013

Success is increasingly about building skills beyond formal education

Countries showing higher levels of participation in organised adult learning activities also demonstrate higher literacy and numeracy skills. The large variation among countries at similar levels of economic development suggests major differences in learning cultures, learning opportunities at work, and adult-education structures.


Lessons from strong performing countries


High quality initial education and lifelong learning

  • Investing in high quality early childhood education and initial schooling, particularly for children from disadvantaged backgrounds
  • Financial support targeted at disadvantage
  • Opportunities and incentives to continued development of proficiency, both outside work and at the workplace.


Make learning everybody’s business

  • Governments, employers, workers and parents need effective and equitable arrangements as to who does and pays for what, when and how
  • Recognise that individuals with poor skills are unlikely to engage in education on their own and tend to receive less employer-sponsored training.


Effective links between learning and work

  • Emphasis on workbased learning allows people to develop hard skills on modern equipment and soft skills through real-world experience
  • Employer engagement in education and training with assistance to SMEs
  • Strengthen relevance of learning, both for workplace and workers broader employability


Allow workers to adapt learning to their lives

  • Flexibility in content and delivery (part-time, flexible hours, convenient location)
  • Distance learning and open education resources.


Identify those who can benefit from learning most

  • Disadvantaged adults need to be offered and encouraged to improve their learning
  • Foreign-language migrants
  • Older adults
  • Show how adults can benefit from improved skills, both economically and socially.


Improve transparency

  • Easy-to-find information about adult education activities
  • Combination of easily searchable, up-to-date online information and personal guidance and counselling services
  • Less educated workers tend to be less aware of the opportunities
  • Recognise and certify skills proficiency.
reading icon

Sign up to be kept up to date on our latest campaigns.