Migration and demographic change

Adult education plays a key role in tackling demographic changes in Europe: by welcoming and integrating migrants and by ensuring access to lifelong learning to older people, the EU can help foster active citizens.

Adult education and migration

Adult education can play a vital role in the current refugee situation in Europe. Through civic education and intercultural learning a mind-set of active citizenship and hospitality can help create an integration-friendly culture amongst the Member States. In providing language and basic skills training for migrants from inside and outside of Europe, the migrants will be enabled to become active citizens in their new home countries.

Adult education can play a vital role in the current refugee situation in Europe.

The implementation of cultural dialogue can foster an exchange between the indigenous and new citizens of the Member States, both helping migrants to understand the cultures and social contracts of their new home countries and giving the host citizens the chance to adopt new habits and develop their countries into future-oriented democracies.

EAEA policy messages: Adult education and refugees

Active Ageing

To tackle demographic changes, Europe needs active citizens. Active ageing will only be guaranteed if learning in later life is provided for. Research shows that learning seniors are more active, volunteer more, work longer and are healthier. Learning seniors are therefore a solution for the demographic crisis and increase their beneficial effect on European democracies.

Furthermore, intergenerational learning enables both older and more experienced people and the young to profit from each other’s knowledge; and on the other hand the joint measures will strengthen intergenerational solidarity within the European societies and therefore foster the democratic dialogue which is needed in times of crisis.

EAEA is committed to active ageing and encourages a common vision on the participation of older people in adult learning. The association advocates for more attention for learning later in life.

Older people are a large and growing part of the EU’s population and this is changing our societies in important and fundamental ways. Older persons wish to be active participants in their workplaces and communities, but in many cases opportunities and facilities are not available or accessible. Learning provides many of these opportunities, and research has shown the benefits.

It is therefore necessary to provide high quality learning opportunities for all older people, which, in turn, will need the necessary framework of policies, funding, structures and access.


Good practice

Fatima arrived in Ireland in November 2013 with her mother and two brothers. She lived in Dublin for three months and then moved to Tullamore with her family. Fatima is a refugee and she is originally from Afghanistan. She travelled through Iran and then onto Syria where she lived for three years. She was supported by the Department of Justice with language classes when she arrived in Ireland. She found the classes too segregated and wanted to integrate with Irish people. She was then told about a VTOS option and has just finished her first year.

The VTOS course is a two-year course and although students typically take Junior Cert in year one and Leaving Cert in year two, Fatima felt that she was capable of sitting two Leaving Cert subjects this year and was supported by the Tullamore Further Education Centre to take Physics and Chemistry. She also availed of facilities in Athlone IT for her practical work.

Fatima is very ambitious and has excellent English, she feels that she has been greatly supported by the Laois and Offaly ETB and she has high hopes for her future.