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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Support measures for learners in adult education and training


12.Educational support and guidance

12.7Support measures for learners in adult education and training

Last update: 20 February 2024

Definition of the target group

Article 67 of Organic Law 2/2006 on Education (LOE), as amended by Organic Law 3/2020 (LOMLOE), defines adult education (EPA) as the education of people over 18 years of age which aims to offer the possibility of acquiring, updating, completing or extending their knowledge and skills, for their personal and professional development. Access to adult education is also guaranteed for the prison population.

Exceptionally, people over the age of 16 may, at their request, take adult education courses:

  • if they have a work contract which does not allow them to attend mainstream educational institutions;
  • if they are high-performance sportspeople.

Adult education itself is a specific support measure for promoting equal opportunities, since its specific objectives, as set in article 66 of the LOE as amended by the LOMLOE, include, among others:

  • contribute to reduce the risk of social exclusion, mainly in the most disadvantaged areas;
  • ensure that adult people have the chance to increase and update their competences;
  • enhance equal rights and opportunities for men and women, among other specific objectives.

The training provision includes different types of training and programmes offered by the education, employment and local authorities.

The target groups for measures aimed at the attention to diversity are the same as those specified in article on Special education needs provision within mainstream education.

Specific support measures

There are also measures of the education system aimed at attending the different needs of adults within education and training to raise achievement in basic skills:

In basic education In basic education (initial studies and secondary education for adults), the education administrations establish the following measures:

  • monitoring aimed at adopting educational reinforcement or support measures and, if appropriate, curricular adaptation when the academic achievement is not appropriate. The importance of a personalised and inclusive education is highlighted, taking into account the characteristics of the target people;
  • in some Autonomous Communities, even if the students have not passed their education levels, it is possible for them to obtain a certificate which specifies the studies, levels and modules taken;
  •  relaxation of the studies length: although the organisation of these studies makes it possible to take them in two academic years, this period can either be extended or reduced depending on the students' experiences, needs and interests;
  • specific programmes for learning Spanish language and other co-official languages, as well as for learning other basic cultural elements in order to facilitate the integration of migrant people;
  • programmes for the eradication of illiteracy and for the educational and professional promotion of those adults at risk of social exclusion.

In vocational training, the second additional provision  of Royal Decree 1147/2011 regulates the accessibility in education.

  • the education authorities shall include in the curriculum of the training cycles the necessary elements to guarantee that people with disabilities develop the competences established in it;
  • all different vocational training provision and access exams must comply with the legislation on equal opportunities, non-discrimination and universal accessibility and, therefore, the necessary means and resources will be provided to access and study these programmes;
  • the educational administrations will establish a percentage of reserved places in vocational training programmes for students with disabilities, which cannot be less than five percent of the number of places;

Additionally, those students who do not pass all the studies contained in every training cycle obtain an academic certificate specifying the vocational modules passed, which includes accumulated partial accreditation of the professional competences acquired, in line with the National System for Qualifications and Vocational Training.

Other organisational alternatives:

The Ministry of Education, Vocational Training and Sports (MEFD), is in charge of the coordination and organisation of distance education or distance learning modality through the Centre for the Innovation and Development of Distance Education (CIDEAD), defined in Royal Decree  789/2015. This way, adult people and school-aged people who cannot attend mainstream education due to personal, social, geographical or other circumstances can access education more easily. Students receiving this kind of education are supported by a tutor through group or individual tutorships, which can be face-to-face or on-line.