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There are several institutions that have been running literacy courses for adults throughout the last years:

  • Volkshochschule Floridsdorf (Adult Education Centre Floridsdorf), Vienna
  • ISOP Graz,Styria: specialised in basic education and vocational reintegration; course offers for Styria; supported by the labour office.
  • AlphaBetisierungsCentrum, Salzburg
  • Volkshochschule Linz (Adult Education Centre Linz), Linz/Upper Austria
  • Since February 2003, the Adult Education Centre of the 15th district in Vienna offers courses for the labour office.
  • In February 2003, another initiative was started in Vorarlberg, namely by the Adult Education Centre VHS Bludenz, in cooperation with the labour office.
  • In Carinthia the first courses have been offered as part of a project carried out by the labour office, the VHS Klagenfurt and the city council. These courses started in July 2003.
  • One of the main providers of basic skills education for immigrants is the Alfa-Zentrum für MigrantInnen, which belongs to the sprachenzentrum ottakring (Language Centre Ottakring), situated in the 16th district of Vienna. They offer the course programme "Alphabetisierung und Deutsch" (Literacy programme and German). In addition to this, the Alfa-Zentrum für MigrantInnen offers "Lese-Schreib-Treffen" (meetings for training of basic reading and writing skills).

Basic Education for Immigrants

Within the framework of German courses for immigrants there have traditionally been literacy programmes and job related measures all over Austria. There are some 550.000 Non-German speakers who live in Austria.


Since 2002, immigrants have been bound by law to prove their knowledge of German. For this reason, an increase in course offers can be observed.

Within the group of refugees who came to Austria in the past few years, as well as among immigrants who primarily came for job reasons, there are many people with poor education showing basic skills deficits.



Literacy courses are being delivered by the following organisations:

  • The main providers of adult literacy and basic education are the Volkshochschulen (adult education centres). Their umbrella organisation is the Deutscher Volkshochschul Verband (German Adult Education Association) or DVV. Adult education centres rely on fundings provided by the Länder (federal states).The first literacy courses were offered by the VHS Bremen in 1978. Nowadays about 20,000 people a year attend adult literacy courses at different Volkshochschulen all over the country. In 1998, for example, adult education centres provided more than 2000 courses on literacy and basic education for people of different age groups. In 2001 this figure was 2579.
  • The Deutsches Institut für Erwachsenenbildung (German Institute for Adult Education) or DIE has played an important role in research, teacher training and material development. It was awarded a UNESCO prize in 1985.
  • The Arbeitskreis Orientierungs- und Bildungshilfe (Working Group for Orientational and Educational Assistance) is a non-governmental organisation or NGO which depends mainly on donations and participation fees.

Basic skills in the wider sense, including basic ICT skills, are offered by a much larger number of institutions:

  • Adult Education Centres
  • training and qualification institutes of the Trades Unions and of the German Industry and Handicraft Boards
  • private companies, associations and NGOs performing courses for labour offices.

Basic skills are currently delivered in course settings focusing on those persons with no or very little literacy or numeracy skills. In most cases, these courses last a few hours a week. Full-time courses are within measures funded by the EU or labour office policy. They will cover a period of three to six months in Germany. At present, basic skills are predominantly delivered by face-to-face teaching. There is no online delivery at the moment.


There is anything like a Workplace Basic Skills provision (which is widespread in the UK). Awareness of the need to train staff is rising, but companies tend to shift the costs for this activity to the public, i.e. to the labour office.


Basic skills in the sense of the agreed definition are being delivered in various forms and settings, comprising the whole spectrum from face-to-face training to Internet based online delivery. The latter form is applied mainly to some IT courses.



Agence Nationale De Lutte Contre L’illettrisme – ANLCI (National Literacy Campaign)

The new ANLCI – with the status of a public interest body, was officially set up on 17th October 2000 (published Journal Officiel 20th October 2000).

The ANLCI is organised so as to allow all those involved in illiteracy to participate in its programmes and in the decision-making process. Its terms of reference allow it to function within an operational framework it shares with national, state and local networks. The ANLCI’s assignment:

  • Determining the priorities in the combat against illiteracy in line with government guidelines.
  • Organising a dialogue between the different parties involved in literacy campaigns; acting as a driving force and coordinator of their campaigns.
  • Ensuring that questions relating to illiteracy have their place in the campaign programmes and research of its members.
  • Assessing the impact of policies and programmes.

Base Pedagogique De Soutien (Educational Resource Centre)

Midi-Pyrénées Regional Illiteracy Resource Centre

The BPS, a registered charity, is an educational resource centre for the Midi-Pyrénées region; it serves all those involved in the training and support of adults and young people experiencing difficulty with social integration and getting into the labour market.

It covers three main themes:

  • basic skills training and tackling illiteracy
  • integrating those in difficulty
  • combating discrimination

Association nationale pour la Formation Professionnelle des Adultes (AFPA) - National Adult Vocational Training Association

AFPA is a vocational training association; it intervenes in the areas of training and careers guidance and advises on and endorses training course syllabuses.

AFPA collaborates with candidates in analysing their requirements, and supports them in elaborating a training project. It assesses their attainments, creates a tailor-made training course which it also helps to deliver; it then assesses the result and offers job-seeking advice. It is therefore in a position to detect people in an illiteracy situation, provide support for them and put them in contact with bodies that might help them with their difficulties.


Ministère des Affaires sociales, du travail et de la solidarité - Ministry of employment and social affairs

The policy implemented by the ministry, based on the IRILL programme provides ongoing basic skills training, in many cases permanent and at a local level in the framework of a partnership between the regional representatives of the ANLCI, the financers, the prescribers, the training institutes, the educational structures and the voluntary sector.

In order to sustain the dynamism of this programme, widen its impact and improve quality, it focuses on three main areas of development:

  • Providing information about training
  • Encouraging access to training
  • Encouraging ongoing training for employees

Ministère de la Justice - Ministry of Justice

The prison authorities are responsible for detection of illiteracy and for putting educational schemes into place in detention centres

Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication – Ministry of Culture and Communication

Combatting illiteracy is one of the main focus points for their objectives as defined by their contract, and implemented by the regional authorities for Cultural affairs. One of their concerns is preventive measures, as in the reading development scheme for young children; they are also involved in recommending projects in the prison or hospital service and in supporting ‘cultural mediators’ who try and introduce a book culture amongst the less privileged.

These measures allow for a perennial partnership between central government and local authorities. They advocate a policy of cooperation between the cultural, educational and voluntary sectors with the aim of constructing an overall project for the development of reading.


Agence Nationale pour l’Emploi – Job Centres

The ANPE is a public body set up in 1967 and attached to the Ministry of Employment and Social Affairs. Its function is to act as an intermediary between prospective employers and job seekers so as to help the unemployed find work more quickly, and businesses to find staff.

The ANPE only takes account of illiteracy when it comes to light as an impediment to employment. There is therefore no systemic detection system of those in an illiteracy situation.



The Permanent Territorial Centres (CTPs) are educational establishments where adult education was created and developed as a new aspect of the educational system.

The centres have grown considerably from the 25 of the first year (1997) to the 546 in 2001-2002.


The CTPs are present all over Italy with an average of five per province (the greatest concentration is found in the larger regions). They are set up in compulsory educational establishments (with around two-thirds consisting of lower secondary schools) who are responsible for their organizational and administrative coordination.

Each centre offers:

  • Reception, listening and guidance.
  • Primary functional and "remedial" literacy programmes, with the possibility of higher levels of education and vocational training.
  • Italian language and other language courses.
  • Development and consolidation of basic skills and specific knowledge.
  • Regaining and developing instrumental, cultural and relational skills suitable for an active participation in social life.
  • Acquisition and development of initial training or vocational upgrading in agreement with vocational training agencies and the private social sphere.

Almost 4000 teachers work in the CTPs (of which 28.46% are primary school teachers and the remaining 71.54% secondary school teachers), in addition to around 1150 technical-administrative staff assigned by the educational administration. On average, each CTP has the statutory eight teaching staff, favouring the secondary-school teacher over the primary-school one.

Since the year the CTPs were launched, the training supply has undergone an exponential increase in quantity and quality. It now offers a broad response to the requests of users nationwide and even programmes activities in prison schools connected to the CTPs.

The supply is based on three course typologies:

  • Courses aimed at acquiring an educational qualification (primary and secondary school certificate).
  • Courses for the language integration of foreign citizens.
  • Short and modular functional literacy courses.

The outcome of the training provided reveals, on a national level, a notable tendency to attend functional literacy courses, representing 72% of the total compared to 15% of basic literacy courses and 13% of language integration courses for foreigners.

In the year 2001-2002, around 400,000 people participated in the CTP educational and training activities, of which around three-quarters attended short and modular courses (see Graph below). A survey based on four indicators (age, gender, social condition and educational level) revealed a considerable number of 25-40 year olds attending the three course typologies. With regards to the social condition, there is a greater presence of the non-employed (an almost identical percentage of men and women) in the basic literacy courses. The situation is reversed in the language integration courses for foreign citizens and in the short and modular courses, denoting a greater number of the employed.


CTP users are distributed on homogeneous educational levels in the language integration courses (33.74% with primary-school certificate or no certificate), 32.76% with a secondary-school certificate and 33.50% with an upper-secondary diploma or a degree). There is a considerable gap with regards to educational standards of users: in the short and modular courses, around 61% has a diploma or a degree and only 5% possess a primary-school certificate or no certificate.

Database with CTPs and courses available at: http://www.bdp.it/eda/home.php


Another training channel for adults is courses in upper-secondary schools, present in all the Italian regions, in the evening. These courses, aimed at acquiring an upper-secondary school diploma, are mainly concentrated on technical and vocational education and only a small percentage of users opt for classic and arts studies.

Training interventions addressed to adult users are present, with different aims and features, in the 2000-2006 "The School for Development" NOP. In line with the innovations already underway in the latter years of 2000 in the educational and training system and considering the priorities fixed in the Memorandum on Education and Training of 2000, both Measure 6 "Continuing Education" and Action 7.3 "Educational Guidance and Remotivation Initiatives to Foster the Placement and Re-Placement of Adult Women in the Labour Market" involve adult training.

Measure 6 is prompted by the need expressed in national and European policies to strengthen the adult-education system for job placement and a better social integration.

Measure 6, for developing a training system for the entire active lifespan, is aimed at facilitating the entry or re-entry in the labour market of young adults or adults with insufficient basic education. This is done by a training supply that integrates education with vocational training and the labour market by defining experimental pathways (also developing informal and non-formal competences) for compensatory learning (compulsory education and/or training). This training is to be carried out in educational establishments or CTPs, in support of institutional actions.

The interventions cover four possible training sectors:

  • Language area (regarding communication, capacity to interact with others, understanding documents, etc.).
  • Historic-social and legal-economic (aimed at putting phenomena into their historic-social context and the exercise of legal-economic functions regarding the individual and the family).
  • Scientific area (problem solving, improving calculation skills, etc.).
  • Technological area: digital literacy, technical drawing, multimedia technologies, use of electronic sheets, etc.

Other interventions, not strictly connected with the four areas described above, involved courses for acquiring specific skills such as welding courses, art workshops, iron workshops, dressmaking, first-aid courses, etc.

Action 7.3 fosters the employability of women, both old and young, through access to education and the acquisition of the skills needed to exercise an active citizenship in the information society. These are objectives set by the Community policies for both employment and social cohesion.

Activities in non formal adult education are carried out either by public bodies (ministries, regional, provincial and local administrations) or private bodies (associations, enterprises, various profit-making organisations). Apart from the profit-oriented institutions, it is mostly voluntary groups that are involved in non formal adult education activities, with support from public institutions.



The Escuela Popular de Prosperidad has as its objective the development of life skills for coping successfully in one's surroundings, including the strengthening of individual curiosity, critical awareness, solidarity, responsibility, and communication skills, and raising the potential for action according to one's own interests, in order to take positions on local and global issues on the environment, social, and other problems. The Escuela Popular de Prosperidad was given the status of an EPA institution in 1984.  Its activities include literacy courses, primary education leading to the Graduado Escolar, and cultural activities.


SURT ("Association for the Insertion of Women into Work") in Barcelona. The organisation focuses on all aspects of the migration process, especially on those which concern the social and professional insertion of women. It organises initiatives and qualification courses in order to enable women to exit their marginalisation and to work "in dignity". These efforts are also, in special projects, directed towards women from the Roma minority.


United Kingdom

Basic skills are delivered via a network of specialist organisations each charged with responsibility for a clear aspect of the sector. This makes it easy to differentiate between sources of funding, policy makers, etc and to target them accordingly. This multi-organisational approach also reflects the developed nature of the basic skills market in the UK. If it appears that organisations delivering basic skills do not have funds to purchase ICT-based learning resources, the project should target sources of funding, and try to illustrate the need for a change in policy.


The strategy planning, policy making, governance, funding and inspection of the UK basic skills sector is divided between several organisations. Listed below are the key agencies involved in the delivery of basic skills:

  • The Adult Basic Skills Strategy Unit (ABSSU) was created in 2001 to administer the Government’s recently launched Skills for Life Strategy for Basic Skills. Part of the Unit’s remit is to insure that regional basic skills drives are coordinated and consistent.www.dfes.gov.uk/readwriteplus/
  • The Adult Learning Inspectorate (ALI) is responsible for inspecting all publicly funded work-based training for people over 16 and learning for post-19s. (www.ali.gov.uk)
  • The Basic Skills Agency (BSA) is the national development organisation for literacy and numeracy in England and Wales. (www.basic-skills.co.uk)
  • The Further Educational National Training Organisation (FENTO) is the national lead body for the development, quality assurance and promotion of national standards for the FE sector. (www.fento.org)
  • The Learning and Skills Development Agency (LSDA) is a strategic national resource for the development of policy and practice in post-16 education and training. (www.lsda.org.uk)
  • The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) is responsible for funding and planning education and training for over 16-year-olds in England. (www.lsc.gov.uk)
  • The National Institute for Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) is the leading non-governmental adult learning organisation for England and Wales. Its formal aim is ‘to promote the study and general advancement of adult continuing education’. (www.niace.org.uk)
  • Operational since April 2001, the Prisoners’ Learning and Skills Unit supports a strategic partnership between the Department of Education and Skills and the Prison Service. (http://www.dfes.gov.uk/prisonerlearning/)


There are no special institutions providing just basic skills for adults. There are several institutions dealing with basic skills education for adults as part of their activities.

Main types of institutions dealing with basic skills training for adults are:

  • Adult education centres in municipalities,
  • Folk schools,
  • Evening schools,
  • Private education institutions,
  • NGOs,
  • Professional associations,
  • Enterprise training centres,
  • Employment services

Areas of specialization according the number of trainees in the different fields in 2003 / total number of involved persons is 217.547/.22.586 trainees that is 10 % of total number have acquired different languages, 57.972 persons (27%) have acquired social knowledge including entrepreneurship and 11.672 persons (5%) – work with computer.


Czech Republic

According to governmental laws and other documents there is an adult education network, witch includes schools, vocational education schools/centres, adult education centres, and requalifying centres. The Czech labour market provides several programs for education (including education of basic skills).