In Luxembourg, there is no single framework law for all programmes offered in adult education. On the basis of the different types of education provided and the laws regulating this provision, it is however possible to distinguish the main, though sometimes overlapping, categories:
- Adult secondary education(deuxième voie de qualification) leading to the same certificates and diplomas as provided by initial education
- Adult apprenticeships (ateliers d’apprentissage personnalisés)
- Adult higher education
- Adult general education concerning a wide range of subjects including citizenship education and language classes
- Basic skills education in numerical, textual and digital literacy
- Continuing vocational education and training (CVET) including professional and sectorial training as well as training for jobseekers
- Education in prisons.
Provision to raise achievement in basic skills
In Luxembourg, according to the EU Labour Force Survey (2013), 19.5 % of adults (aged 25-64 years) have completed lower secondary education at most while 7 % have a lower level of educational attainment. According to the Adult education survey (2011), 55.3 % of low-qualified adults (i.e. those with at most lower secondary education) participate in lifelong learning, which is well above the EU average (21.8 %).
Since 1991, basic education for adults(instruction de base des adultes) has been defined by law as one of the responsibilities of the of the Ministry of Education's department for Adult education. As a consequence, there are publicly funded courses allowing adults to acquire or improve their basic skills.
Main types of provision
Courses provided within the legal framework of basic training for adults(instruction de base des adultes) target literacy (German and French), numeracy and digital skills. They are coordinated by the Service for adult learning of the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth (MENJE). The provision is largely assured by MENJE and delivered through local providers. In 2022, the learning materials were adapted to the needs of adult learners and the socio-cultural contexts of Luxembourg.
In 2013, the MENJE published a reference framework setting out the skills and competencies for adult basic education (MENJE, 2013). The provision is funded by national resources as well as European funding; and it is free of cost for participants. In 2012/13, 340 learners participated in adult basic education (MENJE, 2014).
The above-mentioned framework of adult basic education also includes ICT courses. These are part of the wider 'e-Luxembourg' programme set up in 2000. The objective is to close the digital divide between younger and older people and between poorly-qualified, respectively highly-qualified citizens. The provision includes most basic ICT operations (a 20-hour course known as the 'Internet driving licence' [Internetführerschäin]) as well as word processing, using spread sheets, digital photography, etc. While these courses are publicly subsidised, learners are generally required to pay a fee of between 60 and 100 euros. However, certain target groups are eligible for reductions (e.g. unemployed people). In 2012/13, these ICT courses attracted 1 748 participants (MENJE, 2014).
Other types of provision also contribute to the development of basic skills in the adult population. These include, in particular, a range of programmes/courses provided within the framework of active labour market policies (ALMP) and project-based initiatives using European funding.
Since 2014, the Ministry of Education has been implementing the EU project Learn for Success (L4S), which provides a personalised training programme through individual learning workshops lasting between 50 and 100 hours, in languages (French, German and English), mathematics, office skills and general and civic knowledge. The training is delivered by an expert and the content, duration and learning pace are adapted to learners' needs.
Provision to achieve recognised qualification during adulthood
Adult secondary education
A back-to-education programme (deuxième voie de qualification) allows adults to obtain the same qualifications as those delivered by initial education and training. It informs about access conditions and practicalities .
Main areas of specialisation
The courses of a back-to-education programme provide secondary education adapted to the needs of adult learners. The main forms are:
- Evening classes(cours du soir) in general and technical secondary education organised by secondary schools (lycées) and by the CVET training centre (CNFPC)
- Blended learning scheme of general secondary education, called eBac (today called eCampus) and composed of 75 % online and 25 % in-class teaching
- Day classes offered by the National School for Adults (ENAD)
- Adult apprenticeships(apprentissage des adultes), combining courses provided in technical secondary schools or at a CNFPC with workplace learning, on the basis of apprenticeship contracts concluded between apprentices and companies
Furthermore, adult learners have the possibility to prepare individually for final examinations at the end of secondary education and to take exams without prior course participation.
The current course programme is presented in a yearly catalogue issued by the Service for adult education.
Students should be aged 18 years or above, except for the National School for Adults which accepts young people or adults from the age of 16 to the age of 30. Other admission requirements are aligned with those of initial secondary education. However, principals may admit adult learners individually on the basis of a conditional admission(admission conditionnelle).
Some programmes only accept learners who have not been enrolled in initial education or training for at least one year (i.e. National School for Adults, adult apprenticeships) and who have been affiliated with the Social security centre (Centre commun de la sécurité sociale) for at least 12 months (adult apprenticeships).
Learner assessment and progression
Learner assessment and progression is organised according to the regulations of initial education and training. However, courses as well examinations may be spread over longer periods of time (i.e. two academic years may be allowed for completing the final examination of secondary education) and methods are more suitable to adult learners' needs.
Diplomas and certificates issued at the end of these classes are equivalent to the certifications of initial education. The diplomas allowing access to higher education are:
- Secondary school leaving diplomas
- Access to Higher Education Diploma (DAES).
Adult higher education
For information about the different types of higher education institutions available, details of provision, admission requirements, main areas of specialisation, learner assessment and certification, see the subchapters of chapter 7, Higher Education:
- First cycle programmes
- Second cycle programmes
- Programmes outside the structure of bachelor and master
- Third cycle (PhD) programmes.
Provision targeting the transition to the labour market
The main types of training for job seekers are:
- Vocational training and retraining courses provided by the National continuing vocational training centres (CNFPC)
- Courses organised by the National continuing vocational training centres and financed by the Ministry of Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy on demand of a company or an economic sector in exchange for employment opportunities for job seekers
- Re-training courses organised by associations on the basis of an agreement with the Agency for Development of Employment (ADEM).
The Agency for the Development of Employment can also issue a voucher for job-seekers allowing them to participate in general adult education. These vouchers are mostly issued for language courses in order to provide the language competences needed for the different economic sectors. Under the authority of the Luxembourg National Language Institute (INLL), the Agency for the Development of Employment offers intensive language courses for professional purposes (in Luxembourgish, French, German and English). Furthermore, the INLL offers personal and professional development and other language courses for adults.
General education courses of the Service for adult education (SFA) and its providers are offered in a variety of content.
Provision of liberal (popular) adult education
Adult general education also includes learning activities that are not directly related to the labour market. Such courses may be, for example, courses for adults who want to improve their level in basic skills; language courses or courses on other subjects allowing learners to develop their personal, social, civic or cultural competences.
Main areas of specialisation
The Ministry of Education’s Service for adult education (Service de la formation des adultes) coordinates a series of general knowledge and social promotion courses, organised either by the service itself in secondary schools or by municipalities and non-profit organisations.
Courses are provided in following subject areas:
- Active citizenship
- Adapted courses for adults with special needs
- Arts & crafts
- Basic skills
- Information and communication technologies (ICT)
- Personal development and well-being
- Science, economy and environment.
This offer is completed by other providers which are active in the respective fields of education. The provision may involve public institutions such as the Luxembourg National Language Institute, or associations, such as the association Gero (Kompetenzzenter fir den Alter) or the local Senior clubs ([Clubs seniors], which provide learning opportunities for elder people and are coordinated by the Ministry of Family affairs and Integration) as well as commercial providers.
As part of the implementation of the National Action Plan for Digital Inclusion launched by the Ministry for Digitalisation, the new portal (“Zesummen digital”) created in February 2023 gives each individual equal opportunities to participate in the digital society. The portal presents the various governmental and non-governmental actors working in the field of digital inclusion and provides access to a toolbox (practical guides, thematic sheets, tutorials, etc.).
Courses subsidised by the Ministry of Education have to guarantee general access to all adult citizens. Providers may, however, specify a level of competences necessary for participating in certain courses.
For advanced language students wishing to enrol in a language course at the Luxembourg National Language Institute, entry tests and interviews with language teachers are organised in order to ensure that the courses correspond the students' level and learning objectives.
Learner assessment, progression and certification
As for courses subsidised by the Ministry of Education, the quality label issued by the Service for adult education requires providers to:
- Inform learners in advance of the learning outcomes expected
- Issue a certificate of participation to all learners having attended at least 70 % of the sessions
- Deliver a descriptive (bilan descriptif) of learning outcomes based on formal evaluation (on the learner's demand).
The Luxembourg National Languages Institute bases its education, teaching and evaluation on the principles of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), as elaborated by the Council of Europe in 2004. Moreover, it regularly organises examination sessions and tests allowing learners to obtain internationally recognised certificates for several languages.
Other types of publicly subsidised provision for adult learners
Continuing vocational education and training (CVET) in Luxembourg includes:
- Training organised by companies according to their training needs (collective access)
- Training undertaken by persons active on the labour market with a view to their professional development and work-related competences (individual access)
- Training for jobseekers and persons in risk of losing their employment (vocational retraining).
Main areas of specialisation
There are different types of structured courses proposed in the field of CVET:
- Courses for a general public (provided by employers' chambers, employees' chambers, by mixed and commercial providers)
- Sectoral training addressed to persons working in a given sector and mostly organised by sectoral institutions
- Training related to the right to practice and to set up a business
- Training for job seekers (see above)
- Training activities organised by companies as described in a STATEC report on the results of the study CVTS (Continuing vocational training survey) (STATEC (ed.), 2012. La formation professionnelle continue au Grand-Duché de Luxembourg [PDF])
- Training in prisons : education and training courses for remand prisoners and prisoners are individual, and tailored to their abilities, needs and interests. Prison training is completely entrusted to the Service for adult education of the Ministry of Education offering:
- Basic training, literacy and language learning
- A back-to-education programme
- Vocational training leading to a vocational capacity certificate (CCP- certificat de capacité professionnelle) or a vocational aptitude diploma (DAP- diplôme d’aptitude professionnelle)
- General education courses (arts, humanities, natural sciences or citizenship).
A more detailed description of vocational education and training in Luxembourg is provided by the Refernet country report (INFPC, 2018. Vocational education and training in Europe: Luxembourg. M. Biré, L. Waltzer).
As for training activities organised by companies, the target public and conditions of access are defined by the company with respect to its skills needs or on the basis of its training plan.
Admission requirements for individual participation in structured courses are defined by the course organisers.
In the field of vocational retraining, the Agency for the Development of Employment (ADEM) selects participants of the training measures it organises.
As for the different training programmes provided by non-profit organisations, some organisations only accept job seekers registered with the ADEM, whereas others may also accept persons aiming at a professional integration or reorientation. These conditions will mostly depend on the way programmes are funded.
For the eligibility criteria for support schemes enabling access to CVET see article 3.3 Adult Education and Training Funding or consult the booklet What support is available for your training? (Quelles aides pour votre formation?) (INFPC, Institut national de la formation professionnelle continue, 2017).
The Educational and Vocational Guidance Centre (Maison de l’orientation) offers counselling to adults in all the above-mentioned areas and brings together under one roof the public actors active in the field of educational and vocational guidance - the Department for the recognition of diplomas (foreign) and the Service for Accreditation of prior learning and experience (VAE).
In addition, the lifelong learning website offers useful information such as training guides and the Directory of Training Organisations 2022 (Répertoire des organismes de formation 2022).
Learner assessment, progression and certification
Learner assessment, progression and certification vary according to the provider and the type of course.
For some training measures, providers may issue certificates of attendance to the participants.
Other training activities may include an evaluation of competences and result in the delivery of –more or less widely recognised– certificates and diplomas (e.g. diplomas recognised in a given sector on the basis of sectoral agreements or international certificates).