Local authorities are the closest support institution for local people, working closely with local adult education providers. This determines the special role of local governments in adult education.

Traditional policies pay too much attention to the institutional setup of education. Education systems need to be transformed to become more open and flexible in the face of constant change and new challenges. The European Commission has declared the principle of shared responsibility as one of the basic principles of lifelong learning: the responsibility for providing lifelong learning opportunities is shared between the state, municipalities, private entrepreneurs, public organizations and every citizen. Municipalities are the ones that can coordinate this responsibility in their territory, using the existing resources efficiently and addressing the range of issues related to adult education in a complex manner.

Adults are the largest group of learners in each country, in each municipality. Adequate education must be provided for adults of all ages, nationalities and social groups. In this context, attention should be paid to the economically active population – small and medium-sized enterprises, workers, and craftsmen, as well as to vulnerable groups – the unemployed, migrants, people with low basic education and low incomes, people of retirement and pre-retirement age.

The quality, accessibility and content of education are significant challenges for the development of national human capital, they determine the opportunities for economic growth and improvement of the quality of life. In the work environment, human potential develops through experience, but the opposite processes also take place – professional and social burnout. Latvian Adult Education Association`s long-term chair A.Jākobsone states that “many people are not ready to take full responsibility for their lives. They are tired of being in situations of constant choice and the need to make decisions ”[1]. This poses a challenge for local governments along with ordering an adult education offer for education providers, to seek convincing approaches to educating and engaging burnt-out and ‘tired’ adults in education. Diverse and stimulating educational information, career guidance services, educational masterclass demonstrations, and educational community activities are becoming an increasingly important part of adult education.

One of the target groups of adult education is adult educators themselves – adult education teachers and study organizers. The offer of programs, their quality and the usefulness of training depend to a large extent on their professional competence. There are no official professions related to adult education in Latvia. Consequently, there are no procedures in the country for the training and professional development of specialists in the field of adult education, there is no national-level offer. Municipalities address this issue through the exchange of specialist experience and other available resources. Not only the lack of educated specialists but also the often insufficient understanding of the deputies about the nature and tasks of adult education prevents local governments from developing a purposeful adult education policy.


[1] Jākobsone Anita. Pieaugušo mācīšanās un mūžizglītības nozīme katra cilvēka un sabiedrības dzīvē. No : KomPas : rokasgrāmata pieaugušo izglītības pasniedzējiem. Rīga : Latvijas Pieaugušo izglītības apvienība, 2003. 13. – 48. lpp.