The nature and scope of adult education is determined mainly by socio-cultural, economic and political factors. A substantial role is played not only by an educational status of the population or the needs of the national economy and the labour market, but also by the fact to what extent are these needs reflected in valid legislation, public administration, the school system, and how they are perceived by employers and citizens themselves.
The main reason for an increasing importance of further education is the need to acquire new knowledge and new skills arising from the necessity of continuing adaptation to changing life conditions, both in working and private spheres. The most significant part of the educational activities is related to work; however, improving of knowledge and skills in the area of personal interests is also a frequent motive of the participation in further education.
According to the results of the Labour Force Survey, the participation rates in further have been changing during the last ten years. While within the EU28 an increasing tendency has been noticeable since 2011, in Czechia the participation rates decreased, slightly increasing in 2016 and 2017, then decreased again (see the picture below).
Participation rates (%) of adult population in further education in EU and Czechia in the period 2008–2019
Source: Eurostat and MEYS
Adult learning is an integral part of lifelong learning and covers all areas of education, both in professional education and in the development of general skills or leisure activities. Like other areas of lifelong learning, adult learning can be also divided into formal, non-formal and informal.
Further education and vocational training is provided by upper secondary schools (střední školy) and higher education institutions (vysoké školy), employer organisations, public administration and self-government bodies and their educational institutions, non-profit organisations and professional and commercial entities. (For details, see Providers of further education.)
Under the Act No.179/2006, on Verification and Recognition of Further Education Results and on the Amendment to Some Other Acts, applicants have a possibility to verify their knowledge and skills acquired outside formal education (e.g. through various courses, self-study, practical training etc.).
The adult education area is covered by a number of different national strategic documents and regulations.