Main funding principles
Policy goals and forms of adult education funding differ according to the type of adult education.
Adult secondary education
The main policy goal of adult secondary education by the second educational pathway (deuxième voie de qualification) is to give all adults the opportunity to obtain qualifications of secondary education such as proposed by initial school education.
The National school for adults (ENAD; École nationale pour adultes) further aims at reintegrating early school leavers and at providing young people with labour market access.
Adult secondary education is State funded. Course provision and examinations are organised by public institutions.
Adult learners have various possibilities:
- Attending evening classes organised by secondary schools
- Enrolling at the National school for adults (ENAD; École nationale pour adultes)
- Taking courses at the National centre for continuing vocational training (CNFPC; Centre national de formation professionnelle continue); funding of these institutions is defined by the legislation, with budgets generally comprising operating costs and staff costs
- Preparing the final examination of general secondary education (examen de fin d’études secondaires classiques) via 'e-bac': students get individualised learning support via the online platform eCampus, a distance learning service created in 2005 by the Education ministry's Service for adult education.
Some qualifications falling within the scope of the vocational regime (régime professionnel) of technical secondary education can be obtained via adult apprenticeships (apprentissage pour adultes):
- Vocational aptitude diploma (DAP; diplôme d’aptitude professionnelle)
- Certificate of vocational ability (CCP; certificat de capacité professionnelle)
For this learning path, adult apprentices sign an apprenticeship contract with an enterprise, earning a salary equivalent to the social minimum wage (salaire social minimum). The difference between this salary and the training allowance usually paid to young apprentices in initial education is reimbursed by the State to the employer. In parallel with their apprenticeship contract with the enterprise, adult apprentices are enrolled in courses provided by one of the above-mentioned institutions.
Adult higher education
Higher education programmes are generally open to all citizens, whether adults or young people in initial education. Some programmes provide part-time schemes or distance learning.
For funding, see article 3.2 Higher education Funding.
Adult general education
This type of education aims at granting all adults the opportunity to enlarge their knowledge and competences in various areas of social, economic and cultural life, be it for private or for professional reasons. Tuition may concern language learning, literacy, active citizenship, cultural diversity, well-being and many other subjects.
Several types of funding apply to the provision of general education for adults:
- Public institutions: a part of the offer is provided by public institutions entirely funded by the State, such as secondary schools and the National language institute (INL; Institut national des langues)
- State grants for courses: non-profit organisations and municipalities providing adult general education may request State grants via the ministry of Education’s Service for adult education (SFA; Service de la formation des adultes). These grants are allocated for specific courses, not to the organisation as an entity. In order to be eligible, providers have to obtain the SFA’s quality label related to defined quality criteria (see article 11.3 Quality Assurance in Adult Education and Training)
- Institutional funding: some providers are funded by larger institutions or interest groups, such as employers’ and employees’ chambers, trade unions or the Catholic Church. Funding may be provided by one or several of these institutions
- Commercial offers: a part of the education provision is entirely commercial.
Continuing vocational education and training (CVET)
The modified 2008 law on the reform of vocational education and training (loi modifiée du 19 décembre 2008) states (Art. 42) that each person has the right to develop their knowledge and skills throughout life by means of continuing education and training as well as vocational retraining. Every person is legally entitled to improve their vocational qualification and/or change their career orientation.
CVET provision is intended for persons wishing to obtain, enlarge or maintain a qualification, as well as for persons at risk of losing their employment, for unemployed people or those unable to practise their profession any more.
Funding in CVET implies three main operators: the State, interest groups, and commercial providers.
1. State funding:
- Public institutions and administrations: as in adult general education, a part of the offer of continuing vocational training is provided by state-funded public institutions, such as the national Centres for Continuing Vocational Training (CNFPC; Centre national de formation professionnelle continue), the public research centres (CRP; Centres de recherche publics) or the National Institute of Public Administration (INAP; Institut national d'administration publique). Vocational training may also be directly organised by ministries and public administrations
- Agreements with the Employment agency (ADEM; Agence pour le développement de l’emploi): in the field of professional retraining for job seekers, a number of non-commercial and commercial providers offer training for job seekers registered at the ADEM. Funding of these offers is based on agreements (conventions) between the ministry of Labour and the course providers
- State co-funding: for training activities organised by companies for their employees, the State provides co-funding (see article below) of in-house continuing vocational training (cofinancement de la formation en entreprise).
2. Funding by interest groups, professional organisations or economic sectors
- Professional chambers: a large part of the CVET offer is provided by the training institutions or training departments of professional chambers, such as:
- Luxembourg Lifelong Learning Center (LLLC), operated by the Chamber of employees (Chambre des salariés)
- Chamber of trade (Chambre des métiers), financed by their members’ contributions
- Sectoral institutes. With the exception of public sector institutions, sectoral providers are mainly funded by their respective economic sector. Sectoral providers offering specific vocational training are, among others:
- Luxembourg School of Business, accredited by the Luxembourg Ministry of Higher Education and Research
- Luxembourg banking training institute (IFBL; Institut de formation bancaire Luxembourg)
- Construction sector training institute (IFSB; Institut de formation sectoriel du bâtiment)
- Training providers funded by interest groups: some training institutions are funded by one or several organisations or interest groups.
- Commercial providers: a part of the above-mentioned offer is entirely commercial.
Fees paid by learners
Adult secondary education
Access to adult secondary education is provided free of charge via the National school for adults (ENAD; École nationale pour adultes), evening classes, eBac as well as via the courses offered by CNFPC.
Adult higher education
For regular higher education programmes, learner fees are generally the same as for initial higher education (see article 3.2 Higher education Funding).
The University of Luxembourg offers an additional possibility to adult learners: they may register as guest students (auditeur libre) or senior guest students for a registration fee of currently € 50 per semester. Guest students will not pass examinations nor receive any diploma or ECTS credits.
Since 2011, the University of Luxembourg offers, together with the non-profit organisation Seniorenakademie, a special support to seniors who wish to take part in some of the University courses.
Adult general education
Fees charged by public institutions are defined by the law.
Non-profit organisations and municipalities holding grant agreements with the ministry of Education may request admission fees. For some target groups (unemployed, beneficiaries of the guaranteed minimum wage, persons in need of support as recognised by the OLAI or the municipalities’ social services), fees are reduced to a symbolic amount of € 5 to € 10 per course.
Basic education (literacy and numeracy courses) is provided free of charge.
Commercial and private funded providers are free to set the fees for their course provision.
Continuing vocational education and training
The fees charged by public institutions are defined by the law.
Institutions offering vocational retraining for job seekers and holding agreements with the ADEM have to conform to their agreement.
If defined so by the agreement, the ADEM can also reimburse job seekers’ inscription fees for individual training projects.
Commercial providers and institutions benefitting from other sources of financing are free to set the fees for their course provision.
Financial support for adult learners
In Luxembourg several measures aim at allowing adults to continue education and training or to make up for qualifications of initial education and training.
Support measures for individual learners
The following paragraphs describe training support measures available to individuals in different kinds of situations and for different types of education and training. The following description is largely based on the brochure Training support measures (INFPC; Institut national de la formation professionnelle continue, 2010).
- Paid training leaves for employees, self-employed persons and persons exercising accredited liberal professions: the Individual trainingleave (congé individuel de formation) helps learners to attend courses, prepare and pass examinations, prepare dissertations or accomplish all other work relating to the an eligible course while keeping their job and drawing their salary. The maximum number of working days is 20 days in a 2-year-period and 80 days over the course of a person’s working life. The employer receives a compensation for the employees’ salary for the number of training days granted.
- The Youth leave (congé jeunesse) is a paid leave for persons involved in activities for the benefit of young people. Besides the organisation of activities such as holiday camps or cultural activities, it allows them to acquire qualifications and to pursue education and training. The maximum number of working days is 20 days in a 2 year period and 60 days over the course of a person’s working life. The employer receives a compensation for the employees’ salary for the number of training days granted
- The Language training leave (congé linguistique) is a paid leave allowing beneficiaries to learn or improve their knowledge of the Luxembourgish language. The total length amounts to 200 hours of course which have to be divided in two sections for which separate applications have to be made. The employer receives a compensation for the employees’ salary for the number of training days granted
- Work time organisation
- A flexible work schedule (aménagement personnel du temps de travail) may be demanded by employees working for companies who use flexi-time. The objective is to take advantage of flexi-time in order to pursue education and training, while respecting the legal framework for the length of working days and hours. However, there are no formal rights or procedures related to this kind of support measure
- The unpaid training leave (congé sans solde pour formation) allows employees of private sector companies to temporarily interrupt their professional career in order to undertake a vocational training course for a period of 4 to 6 months. The maximum accumulated length of leave periods is limited to 2 years per employer
- Other support measures
- Tax deductibility (déductibilité fiscale) allows all persons paying tax on income for a paid activity to deduct costs of vocational training (registration fees and costs for buying bools) relating to this activity
- Financial aid for higher education (aides financières pour études supérieures) allows adults and young people pursuing higher studies to apply for financial aid, composed of a grant and/or a loan of € 13 000 per academic year as well as a subsidy for inscription fees
- Measures supporting special target groups
- Registration fees incurred for education and training during a period of unemployment may be reimbursed by the ADEM on a registered job seeker’s demand. The ADEM also takes in charge registration fees for training measures proposed to job seekers
- Retraining measures for employees losing their job in the course of a collective redundancy procedure (licenciement collectif) may also be foreseen in the compulsory redundancy plan (plan social), which is negotiated between employers and social partners in the course of such a procedure
- Costs for transport and childcare, incurred by job seekers living in low income single-parent households when attending a training proposed by the ADEM, the National Social Inclusion Office (Office national d'inclusion sociale) or taking place at a National centre for vocational training (CNFPC; Centre national de formation professionnelle), can be taken in charge by the Employment Fund (Fonds pour l’emploi)
- Educational compensation (indemnité de formation) for learners enrolled with the CNFPCs or the National School for adults and aged between 18 and 25 years is aimed at supporting those who live in a household with few resources in pursuing education and training in order to be integrated into the job market
- The Welcome and integration contract (CAI; Contrat d'accueil et d'intégration) for immigrants aged 16 years and above is a facultative offer addressed to all foreign nationals who are legally residing on the territory of Luxembourg and wish to stay there on a long-term basis. It is concluded for a duration of two years and allows beneficiaries to participate in language courses on a discounted rate while granting them free access to citizenship training courses.
A comprehensive description of training support measures, eligibility criteria and application procedures can be found in a publication issued by the National institute for the development of continuing vocational training (INFPC; Institut national de la formation professionnelle continue, 2013. Aides à la formation).
Collective access to CVET
In the field of continuing vocational education and training, Luxembourg distinguishes between individual access (accès individuel) and collective access (accès collectif).
Individual access concerns training activity undertaken on the personal initiative of an employee, a self-employed person or an individual practising a liberal profession. It is supported by the above-mentioned training leaves.
Collective access concerns training activity as part of a training plan set up by a private sector company. The State supports this learning by co-funding in-company training. Co-funding may be applied for by companies legally based in Luxembourg.
According to the law of 29 August 2017 amending the Labour Code (loi du 29 août 2017 portant modification du Code du travail), the financial support from the State amounts to 15% (taxable) of the annual invested training expense. For low qualified workers (who do not hold any formal qualification and have been working for less than 10 years) and for elder workers (aged over 45), a higher financial participation for salary costs is granted (35% of the worker’s salary).
The amount of the State's co-funding in collective access is capped according to the number of people employed in the company:
- 20% of the wage bill from 1 to 9 employees
- 3% from 10 to 249 employees
- 2% for 250 and more employees.
The above-mentioned law foresees that:
- Training for adaptation to the workplace is exclusively limited to unqualified employees, and with a time restriction to 80 hours
- A flat-rate grant of € 500 is applicable to each co-funding request
- Compulsory training prescribed by the law is not eligible.
State co-funding of collective access to CVET is not transferred to the individual adult learner directly. It nevertheless results in providing a broader and more equal access to lifelong learning for all, establishing a culture of continuing training in Luxembourg’s companies.
Another kind of collective access to CVET is also promoted through grants designed to support foreigners’ integration by learning the Luxembourgish language. A subsidy can be applied for by private sector companies based in Luxembourg.
Subsidies for private providers
Exclusively private adult education institutions
Authorisation of commerce
Commercial training providers are bound to the right of establishment (droit d’établissement). In order to organise training activities, managers (physical or moral persons) need to hold a ministerial authorisation issued by the ministry of the Economy (minstère de l'Économie) on opinion of the ministry of Education, Children and Youth.
Accountability of private educational institutions is not subjected to any special rules.
Co-funding of continuing vocational training in the company is only available for training provided by public institutions or by legally established private institutions.
Non-profit organisations and individual trainers may be accredited by the ministry of Education, Children and Youth. This is a condition of eligibility for receiving State grants for courses in the field of adult general education.
Institutions receiving public grants for courses in adult general education have to provide accounts for these courses but not for the organisation as a whole.
Non-profit organisations and commercial providers offering professional retraining for job seekers based on agreements with the ADEM have to conform to the accountability rules defined in these agreements.
More information on the conditions of exercising the activity as a training provider can be found on the website of lifelong-learning.
Information on the accreditation of courses and public grants for municipalities and non-profit organisations is available on the Lifelong-learning website.
Information on training measures dedicated to job seekers is available on the ADEM website.