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Conducive conditions to adult learning in Switzerland

Policymakers in Switzerland consider ALE important, but ALE providers would like to see a national strategy for ALE to tackle key societal challenges.

EAEA’s members report that Swiss ALE policies promote inclusive and accessible learning provision. Overall, civil society organisations feel well integrated into the policy-making processes, they can express their opinions and participate in consultations at different levels.

EAEA's Swiss member, the Swiss Association for Adult Education (SVEB), has a main focus of its work on the green transition, in particular, due to the climate crisis and the challenges associated with it. Basic education remains a key theme, alongside new topics such as dealing with artificial intelligence and implementing micro-credentials in Swiss education systems. A further central topic is the quality of ALE through the eduQua strategy and "AdA", the system for training trainers in Switzerland.

A politically highly valued ALE system that requires inclusion strategies for adults from disadvantaged backgrounds

In general, ALE is highly valued by political decision-makers. Although the focus of funding is primarily on the needs of the labour market, the importance of ALE for social cohesion, democratic participation and well-being is also recognised, even if it is not adequately funded everywhere. Civil society has a strong voice in political decision-making: it is involved in decisions and also actively brings in European and international perspectives, for example through its involvement in the United Nations’ CONFINTEA process.

Overall, funding for ALE in Switzerland has remained more or less the same over the past year. Most learning activities are funded by private individuals or their employers. However, public funding at the national and regional levels is not sufficient, which means that many adults are unable to participate in learning, especially those who cannot afford the learning fees or whose employers do not cover them.

In addition, learners are excluded from decision-making processes at a political level, which makes it more difficult for them to raise awareness of their needs. To improve access to ALE for all, SVEB has actively campaigned for better policy regulations for funding ALE in Switzerland.

As a general recommendation, SVEB urges the decision makers to develop a national strategy that addresses key challenges in the society and harnesses the transformative power of ALE.