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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Adult education and training


8.Adult education and training

Last update: 23 June 2022

Adult education ranges from the traditional literacy processes and the achievement of basic education to training leading to employment or leisure activities.

The aim of adult education is to offer people over 18 the possibility to acquire, update, complete, or expand their knowledge and skills for their personal and professional development.

Exceptionally, access to adult education:

  • is available for those who apply at the age of 17 and turn 18 in the year in which the course begins;
  • is provided to people over the age of 16 may, at their request, if they have a work contract which does not allow them to attend mainstream educational institutions or if they are high-performance sports people;
  • likewise, the educational authorities may exceptionally authorise access to these courses for those over the age of sixteen who are in circumstances that prevent them from attending ordinary educational institutions and which are duly accredited and regulated, and for those who have not been enrolled in the Spanish educational system.

The specific objectives of adult education are the following:

  • acquire basic training, increase and refresh adults’ knowledge, abilities and skills on a permanent basis, and facilitate access to the different types of provision within the education system;
  • improve their professional qualification or acquire the necessary training for the practice of other professions;
  • respond adequately to the challenges related to the gradual aging of the population, ensuring older people the opportunity to increase and update their skills;
  • foster real equality of rights and opportunities between men and women;
  • acquire, increase and renew the knowledge, abilities and skills required in order to create companies and carry out business activities and initiatives, the economy of care, social collaboration and citizen commitment;
  • develop attitudes and acquire knowledge linked to sustainable development and the effects of climate change and environmental, health or economic crises and promote health and healthy eating habits, reducing sedentary lifestyles. 

Adult training provision comprises different types of programmes, which are organised by education, employment, and local authorities: