Skip to main content
European Commission logo


EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Adult education and training


8.Adult education and training

Last update: 27 November 2023

Adult education (EPA - Educación de personas adultas) 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.

In addition to people who are at least 18 years old or who will be 18 years old in the year in which the course begins, the education authorities may exceptionally authorise access to EPA to the following groups:

  • people over the age of 16, 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;
  • people over the age of 16 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 and training 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;
  • develop personal abilities in the expression, communication, interpersonal relations and knowledge construction spheres;
  • develop the capacity to participate in social, cultural, political and economic life and enforce the right to democratic citizenship;
  • develop programmes to reduce the risk of social exclusion, mainly in the most disadvantaged areas;
  • respond adequately to the challenges related to the gradual aging of the population, ensuring older people the opportunity to increase and update their skills;
  • promote effective equality of rights and opportunities between men and women, and analyse and critically assess inequalities between them;
  • foresee and solve family, personal and social conflicts peacefully;
  • 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 the education, employment and local authorities:

  • Local administrations are responsible for the provision of non-formal education and formal education in those cases where agreements are signed with the educational administrations.