Adult education has an important social assignment: on the one hand it imparts to course participants the knowledge, skills and competences which are needed for personal development, social functioning, further participation in education, the practice of a profession or the mastering of a language, and on the other hand it allows course participants to obtain recognized qualifications and certificates.
This assignment distinguishes adult education from the other public providers of adult education and training such as the Flemish Employment Services and Vocational Training Agency and the Flemish Agency for Entrepreneurial Training. Until today adult education is responsible for providing recognised qualifications such as a diploma of secondary education. Adult education therefore resorts under the responsibility of the minister of education and training.
Adult training however comprises a broader spectrum of programmes and training opportunities and is a shared responsibility of various policy domains:
- The minister of work is responsible for the programmes organised by the Flemish Employment Services and Vocational Training Agency and the Flemish Agency for Entrepreneurial Training. An exception is formed by the apprenticeships offered by the Flemish Agency for Entrepreneurial Training, which fall under the responsibility of the minister of education.
- Agricultural training resorts under the competence of the minister of agriculture.
- Socio-cultural adult work is a responsibility of the minister of culture, youth, sport and media.
This list is not exhaustive but comprises the most important programmes and training opportunities of the public providers.