‘You have to run it like a company’

The marketisation of adult learning and education in Germany and Slovenia


  • Tadej Košmerl University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana
  • Borut Mikulec University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana




Adult learning and education organisations, adult learning and education policy, Germany, marketisation of adult learning and education, Slovenia


This paper identifies some of the key characteristics of the marketisation of adult learning and education (ALE) and analyses the effects in the contexts of Germany (focusing on Bavaria) and Slovenia. ALE policies and institutional practices are analysed through the method of document analysis and interviews. Policy models of ALE proposed by Lima and Guimarãesthe democratic–emancipatory model, the modernisation and state control model, and the human resources management modelare used as an analytical framework. Our findings indicate that the latter model prevails in the analysed policies, while the market forces are introduced on the organisational level of ALE from ‘below’ through the increased influence of the market demand coming from the learners/customers, and from ‘above’ through calls for tenders that shape the ‘quasi-market’ in which the ALE organisations compete for funding. However, signs of resistance to the marketisation of ALE practices are also identified.


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How to Cite

Košmerl, T., & Mikulec, B. (2021). ‘You have to run it like a company’: The marketisation of adult learning and education in Germany and Slovenia. European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults, 12(1), 47–63. https://doi.org/10.3384/rela.2000-7426.ojs3466