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Volume 53, No. 4, November 2018
Reconceptualising system transitions in education for marginalised and vulnerable groups
Guest Editors: Paul Downes, Erna Nairz‐Wirth, Jim Anderson

Volume 53, No. 3, September 2018
Learner agency at the confluence between rights-based approaches and well-being
Guest Editor: Jean Gordon

Volume 53, No. 2 June 2018
Special Issue: Are Student Assessments Fit For Their Purposes?
Guest Editor: Janet Looney

Volume 53, No. 1. March 2018
Special Issue: Innovative approaches to Continuous Professional Development in Early Childhood Education and Care. A European perspective.
Guest Editors: Brecht Peleman, Bente Jensen and Jan Peeters

Volume 52, No. 4 December 2017
Special Issue: Education for people, prosperity and planet: Can we meet the sustainability challenges?
Guest Editor: Aaron Benavot

Volume 52, No. 3 September 2017
Title: Participatory Design for (Built) Learning Environments
Guest Editors: Karen D. Könings and Susan McKenney

Volume 52, No. 2 June 2017
Title: The Influence of PISA on Education Policies
Guest Editors: Alain Michel and Xavier Pons

Volume 52, No.1 March 2017
Title : Higher education learning outcomes - transforming higher education ?
Guest Editors : Joakim Caspersen and Nicoline Frolich

Volume 51, No.4 December 2016
Title: Governance Dynamics in Complex Decentralised Education Systems
Guest Editors: Edith Hooge

Volume 51, No 3 September 2016
Title : Vocational Schooling and Social Exclusion in the Western Balkans
Guest Editors : Claire Gordon and Will Bartlett

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Adult Learning in the MEDA Region; Synthesis Report (2009)

Type of project/activity:

Synthesis report drafted for the European Training Foundation (2009)


The study focuses on adult learning provision in seven countries of the region: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria and Tunisia. The overall aim of the project is to undertake a stocktaking exercise in order to inform the development of policy guidance on adult learning in the countries involved. More specifically it is to:
- provide evidence about strategies to improve adult participation in learning;
- highlight key lessons;
- address potential barriers to learning;
- make recommendations on policy.


In all the countries included in the study there are substantial economic and social reforms underway which create important challenges for adult education policies and provision. There are a number of major concerns that are common to all the countries even though they may be of differing importance. The pressure of demographics in the region, with high percentages of the population under the age of 15 years old, has a very substantial effect on the labour market situation as well as on policy formulation for adult training and on the use of resources. In all the countries the implicit definition of ‘adult’ (i.e. in terms of the provision of education and training) includes young people over the age of 15 years old. In addition to the size of the youth population, progression in the numbers staying on for secondary and higher education creates a major challenge for governments, sectors and enterprises. Failure to respond will encourage emigration and hence a brain-drain that does not contribute to economic development. Within this overall increase, the numbers and the proportion of female graduates have also increased. Countries are having difficulty in increasing the activity rate of women and in improving employment opportunities for women in line with their qualifications.

However, the majority of workers in the region (60-70%) have only primary education or less which creates a substantial challenge to continuing education and training systems to be able to support economic and social development adequately. While on the one hand girls are doing increasingly well in education systems, the literacy rate of women in the region is lower than that for men and more girls do not go to school (or leave early) than boys. Improving the literacy rate for children and adults remains a concern and will have an influence on priorities for adult learning since it affects both the absolute literacy rates and functional literacy for skills training. Important efforts are still needed (and are underway) to organise adult education for women to support their personal development, as well as the economic and social development of their communities. The importance of girls’ and women’s education (literacy) as a pillar of human development and social progress has been amply demonstrated.



Main activities:

The methodology is based on commissioning a set of country reports and a synthesis report. The country reports were drafted by local consultants using a set of common guidelines that were agreed with ETF and with the consultants at a project meeting held in Turin on 17th October 2009. This synthesis report uses the data gathered by the country reports, which were reviewed at their draft stage by the ETF country managers.

The project sought to increase understanding of the existing situation in order to be able to identify strong points, weaknesses and gaps, with the intention of highlighting possible further developments. The report is organised around three ‘pillars’, which are defined by the population targeted, that is education and training provision for people in employment, for unemployed people and undertaken through individual initiative though there is clearly some overlap between these categories. In addition to providing basic information, the country reports focus on trends in each of the countries so the definition of the scope has been kept broad in order to ensure that the reports can capture the most important information for their country. The study aims to describe both policy and practice, with a view to understanding government policy as fully as possible and selecting illustrative sectoral examples that help understand interesting and significant trends. Hence, consultants were asked to select sectors that are important for the national economy and that that have a particularly well-developed approach to training and/or are innovative.

Name of programme, funder or client:

European Training Foundation

Expected outcomes, reports/documents:

Report to ETF: Adult Learning in the MEDA Region; Synthesis Report. To download the report click here

For more information please contact Jean Gordon at