Joint Programming Initiative

More Years, Better Lives

The Potential and Challenges of Demographic Change

European Adult Education Survey (AES)
European Adult Education Survey (AES)

Topic
Work and Productivity
Education and Learning
Relevance for this Topic
Country Europe
URL
More Topics

Governance

Contact information

Ms. Nicoletta Schweikle-Hilgner (for research contracts)
European Commission, Eurostat – Unit B1
5, rue Alphonse Weicker
2721 Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Email: For research contracts: estat-microdata-access(at)ec.europa.eu;
Url: epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/.../adult_education_survey

Timeliness, transparency

First wave (pilot, 2006 AES): The first results from 18 countries were published in November 2009 on the Eurostat website. Microdata is available since 2010. Second wave (2011 AES): First results for countries where data was collected in 2011 were released in February 2013. There is no specific release calendar for the Microdata. The results of each wave of the survey are published as soon as a sufficient number of national datasets are available.

Type of data


Survey

Type of Study

Cross-section, regular


Adult Education Surveys are scheduled every five years, with a reference period of 12 months for reporting on learning activities.

Data gathering method

Telephone interview (CATI)

Face-to-face interview (CAPI, PAPI)


The collection method differed by country. However, the AES Task Force established that no proxy interviews should be accepted in adult education or learning surveys.

Type of data


Survey

Type of Study

Cross-section, regular


Adult Education Surveys are scheduled every five years, with a reference period of 12 months for reporting on learning activities.

Data gathering method

Telephone interview (CATI)

Face-to-face interview (CAPI, PAPI)


The collection method differed by country. However, the AES Task Force established that no proxy interviews should be accepted in adult education or learning surveys.


Access to data


First wave (pilot, 2006 AES): Direct access to the anonymised microdata (CD-ROM) of 24 countries is not given to individuals and is based in a research contract with Eurostat. Beginning in July 2013, all entities requesting access to microdata will have to be first recognised as eligible for access. This will be required only once for all future access requests. The previous research contract will be replaced by a licence (confidentiality undertaking). Aggregated tables, basic results and Statistics in Focus (SIF) are available on the Eurostat website. Second wave (2011 AES): Main indicators on participation in education and training (formal and non-formal learning), as well as main characteristics of learning activities are available on the Eurostat website. A second set of indicators will be released later. There is no specific release calendar for the microdata.

Conditions of access


Access to anonymised microdata is restricted to researchers, universities and institutions by means of a research contract.


Access to microdata takes on average 10 weeks from when the access request is received


Anonymised microdata for 24 countries, aggregated tables.


Data and documentation are available in English.

Access to data


First wave (pilot, 2006 AES): Direct access to the anonymised microdata (CD-ROM) of 24 countries is not given to individuals and is based in a research contract with Eurostat. Beginning in July 2013, all entities requesting access to microdata will have to be first recognised as eligible for access. This will be required only once for all future access requests. The previous research contract will be replaced by a licence (confidentiality undertaking). Aggregated tables, basic results and Statistics in Focus (SIF) are available on the Eurostat website. Second wave (2011 AES): Main indicators on participation in education and training (formal and non-formal learning), as well as main characteristics of learning activities are available on the Eurostat website. A second set of indicators will be released later. There is no specific release calendar for the microdata.

Conditions of access


Access to anonymised microdata is restricted to researchers, universities and institutions by means of a research contract.


Access to microdata takes on average 10 weeks from when the access request is received


Anonymised microdata for 24 countries, aggregated tables.


Data and documentation are available in English.


Coverage


Reference year: Common reference years: First wave (pilot, 2006 AES): Common reference year 2007 (collection between 2005 and 2008). Second wave (2011 AES):2011 (data collected between July 2011 and June 2012). Reference period for participating countries vary. Sample size: First wave (pilot, 2006 AES): Microdata for 24 countries cover 169,183 individuals.


2005-2008 depending on the country.


Stratified sample of individuals, at least according to age and gender. Each participating country designed its own sample selection criteria: multi-stage, multi-stratified sampling - Germany, Italy, Latvia, Norway and Poland stratified simple random sampling - Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, United Kingdom simple random sampling - Latvia, Slovakia multistage stratified sampling within LFS - France, Greece, Hungary


Countries used different bases for selecting the AES sample: Census: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, France, Greece and Hungary Register: Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden Postcode address file: U.K


First wave (pilot, 2006 AES): Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Microdata available for: Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, Finland, France, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Sweden, Slovak Republic, United Kingdom, Belgium, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Norway and Croatia (the data from France are provisional). Second wave (2011 AES): Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.


25-64 living in private households.


The database allows for the analysis of the skills mismatch and the basic characteristics of the employment at the time of the survey (workplace description, employment status, working conditions, and economic activity).


• Badescu, M., & Loi M. "Participation in training of adult workers in Europe." JRC Scientific and Technical Report 24563 EN (2010). • Baron, S. "Strengthening further training. Subjective motives and supervisor support matter." Workplace Learning. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften (2011): 15-33. • Boateng, S. K. "Significant country differences in adult learning". Eurostat: Statistics in Focus 44 (2009): 1-11. • European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop). “Learning while working: Success stories on workplace learning in Europe." Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2011. • Eurydice. “Adults in Formal Education: Policies and Practices in Europe.” EACEA, Brussels (2011). • Garrouste, C., & Paccagnella, O. "Shall I stay or shall I go?: late graduation and retirement decision”. Joint Research Centre Scientific and Technical Reports 67814. Publications Office of the European Union (2012). • Nieto, S., Matano, A., & Ramos, R. “Skill mismatches in the EU: Immigrants vs. Natives”. Sharing Knowledge Assets: Interregionally Cohesive Neighborhoods (SEARCH) Working Paper 3.8. Universitat de Barcelona (2013). • Róbert, P. “The sociodemographic obstacles of participating in lifelong learning”. In Riddell, S., Markowitsch, J. & Weedon, E. "Lifelong Leaning in Europe: Equity and Efficiency in the Balance", The Policy Press, Bristol (2012). • Róbert, P., Sági, M., & Balogh, A. "Formal Adult Education in the Context The View of European Statistics: The AES Data SP2". Comparative Report (TARKI) (2011). • Zarifis, G. “Adult participation in education in south-eastern Europe: An elaboration on the study report for the assessment of the impact of ongoing reforms in education and training on the adult learning sector”. Journal of Adult and Continuing Education 18(1) (2012): 27-42.

Coverage


Reference year: Common reference years: First wave (pilot, 2006 AES): Common reference year 2007 (collection between 2005 and 2008). Second wave (2011 AES):2011 (data collected between July 2011 and June 2012). Reference period for participating countries vary. Sample size: First wave (pilot, 2006 AES): Microdata for 24 countries cover 169,183 individuals.


2005-2008 depending on the country.


Stratified sample of individuals, at least according to age and gender. Each participating country designed its own sample selection criteria: multi-stage, multi-stratified sampling - Germany, Italy, Latvia, Norway and Poland stratified simple random sampling - Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, United Kingdom simple random sampling - Latvia, Slovakia multistage stratified sampling within LFS - France, Greece, Hungary


Countries used different bases for selecting the AES sample: Census: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, France, Greece and Hungary Register: Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden Postcode address file: U.K


First wave (pilot, 2006 AES): Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Microdata available for: Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, Finland, France, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Sweden, Slovak Republic, United Kingdom, Belgium, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Norway and Croatia (the data from France are provisional). Second wave (2011 AES): Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.


25-64 living in private households.


The Adult Education Survey is focused on all training received by the population aged 25-64. That is formal education, which leads to a qualification, as well as non-formal education. Therefore, it provides information on the provider and purpose of the training, the obstacles faced, as well as the costs of learning. Additionally, the database contributes to the analysis of learners and non-learners that could be considered as an asset for policy-oriented research.


• Badescu, M., & Loi M. "Participation in training of adult workers in Europe." JRC Scientific and Technical Report 24563 EN (2010). • Baron, S. "Strengthening further training. Subjective motives and supervisor support matter." Workplace Learning. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften (2011): 15-33. • Boateng, S. K. "Significant country differences in adult learning". Eurostat: Statistics in Focus 44 (2009): 1-11. • European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop). “Learning while working: Success stories on workplace learning in Europe”. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2011. • Eurydice. “Adults in Formal Education: Policies and Practices in Europe.” EACEA, Brussels (2011). • Garrouste, C., & Paccagnella, O. "Shall I stay or shall I go?: late graduation and retirement decision”. Joint Research Centre Scientific and Technical Reports 67814, Publications Office of the European Union (2012). • Nieto, S., Matano, A., & Ramos, R. “Skill mismatches in the EU: Immigrants vs. Natives”. Sharing Knowledge Assets: Interregionally Cohesive Neighborhoods (SEARCH) Working Paper 3.8. Universitat de Barcelona (2013). • Róbert, P. “The sociodemographic obstacles of participating in lifelong learning”. In Riddell, S., Markowitsch, J. & Weedon, E. "Lifelong Leaning in Europe: Equity and Efficiency in the Balance", The Policy Press, Bristol, 2012. • Róbert, P., Sági, M., & Balogh, A. "Formal Adult Education in the Context The View of European Statistics: The AES Data SP2". Comparative Report (TARKI) (2011). • Zarifis, G. “Adult participation in education in south-eastern Europe: An elaboration on the study report for the assessment of the impact of ongoing reforms in education and training on the adult learning sector”. Journal of Adult and Continuing Education 18(1) (2012): 27-42.


Linkage


Common reference population: individuals in private households 25-64 years old EU standard questionnaire and classification of activities: Education: ISCED97 and Eurostat’s Classification for Learning Activities 2005 Occupation: ISCO-88, 1 digit level. Economic activities: NACE Rev.1.1 Reference period for education and training activities: 12 months

Linkage


Common reference population: individuals in private households 25-64 years old EU standard questionnaire and classification of activities: Education: ISCED97 and Eurostat’s Classification for Learning Activities 2005 Occupation: ISCO-88, 1 digit level. Economic activities: NACE Rev.1.1 Reference period for education and training activities: 12 months


Data quality


First wave (pilot): Measurement errors may arise from questions being understood or interpreted in a different way. Partial non-response was very low for the most important indicators, thus not affecting the reliability or comparability of the results.


First wave (pilot): Sampling unit was individuals in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia, Spain, Finland, France, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Slovenia, Slovakia, United Kingdom, while it was households in Bulgaria, Greece and Italy, and dwellings in Poland. In some countries, the 2006 AES and 2011 AES results cannot be used to draw a comparison nor to describe the evolution of the situation on lifelong learning between 2006 and 2011 due to methodological changes. At the time of the release date of the 2011 AES (February 2013), the following breaks can be mentioned: France: Change in the questionnaire and the collection method. Hungary: 2011 AES is a standalone survey, whereas the 2006 AES was an ad-hoc module of Labour Force Survey. As some non-formal programmes were not included in the 2006 survey, their inclusion account for an increase in participation in non-formal learning.


First wave (pilot): Educational programmes included in non-formal education may vary. The reason for participation was defined as a multiple choice question except in France, where it was limited to main reason. Non-formal education and training activity was defined as one (main) for France, Italy and the United Kingdom, whereas the rest of the countries included three options.

Data quality


First wave (pilot): Measurement errors may arise from questions being understood or interpreted in a different way. Partial non-response was very low for the most important indicators, thus not affecting the reliability or comparability of the results.


First wave (pilot): Sampling unit was individuals in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia, Spain, Finland, France, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Slovenia, Slovakia, United Kingdom, while it was households in Bulgaria, Greece and Italy, and dwellings in Poland. In some countries, the 2006 AES and 2011 AES results cannot be used to draw a comparison nor to describe the evolution of the situation on lifelong learning between 2006 and 2011 due to methodological changes. At the time of the release date of the 2011 AES (February 2013), the following breaks can be mentioned: France: Change in the questionnaire and the collection method. Hungary: 2011 AES is a standalone survey, whereas the 2006 AES was an ad-hoc module of Labour Force Survey. As some non-formal programmes were not included in the 2006 survey, their inclusion account for an increase in participation in non-formal learning.


First wave (pilot): Educational programmes included in non-formal education may vary. The reason for participation was defined as a multiple choice question except in France, where it was limited to main reason. Non-formal education and training activity was defined as one (main) for France, Italy and the United Kingdom, whereas the rest of the countries included three options.


Applicability


The Adult Education Survey is a valuable instrument to analyse and provide insights in the main reasons and ways adults learn. It was specifically designed to assess the participation of adults in education and training, and it also provides valuable information on the influence and motivation behind lifelong learning in work related activities. One of the main advantages of this data source is that it allows for the analysis of the learning activities of low educated and low skilled adults. Nevertheless, the database does not provide information on the quality of the training received. Researchers must consider that the participation rates obtained in the Adult Education Survey might be higher than those from the quarterly European Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS) due to the different reference period used: 4 weeks for the EU-LFS and 12 months for the AES. Another possible explanation is the coverage of learning activities such as short-term duration courses. Depending on the country, the sample used for the 2006 AES could be considered small with variations between 2,200 and 27,000 respondents (0.01 and 1.14 percent). The database allows for the cross-national analysis of skill mismatch, as well as the relation between life long learning opportunities, working conditions and the basic characteristics of the employment. The 2006 AES provides some insights on the ICT and language skills of the surveyed population (self-reported). Further methodological information, as well as results of the 2011 Adult Education Survey will be released during 2013.

Applicability


The Adult Education Survey is a valuable instrument to analyse and provide insights in the main reasons and ways adults learn. It was specifically designed to assess the participation of adults in education and training, and it also provides valuable information on the influence and motivation behind lifelong learning in work related activities. One of the main advantages of this data source is that it allows for the analysis of the learning activities of low educated and low skilled adults. Nevertheless, the database does not provide information on the quality of the training received. Researchers must consider that the participation rates obtained in the Adult Education Survey might be higher than those from the quarterly European Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS) due to the different reference period used: 4 weeks for the EU-LFS and 12 months for the AES. Another possible explanation is the coverage of learning activities such as short-term duration courses. Depending on the country, the sample used for the 2006 AES could be considered small with variations between 2,200 and 27,000 respondents (0.01 and 1.14 percent). Further methodological information, as well as results of the 2011 Adult Education Survey will be released during 2013.


  • The information about this dataset was compiled by the author:
  • Diana Lopez-Falcon
  • (see Partners)