Setting the new European agenda for adult learning 2021-2030

Political mobilisation and the influence of advocacy coalitions




adult learning, agenda setting, advocacy coalition framework, belief system, European Union


Following the COVID-19 pandemic, international organisations and governments have issued mitigation policies, and (re)oriented broader policy strategies to respond to new problematisations about the future. In this context, the education ministers of the European Union (EU) adopted a Council Resolution on a new European agenda for adult learning 2021-2030. Drawing on the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF), this paper examines the political mobilisation and agenda setting behind this Resolution through network ethnography and the analysis of belief systems. The findings point at an increased social dialogue, favoured by an ‘uncommon’ way – as by our informants – through which the Slovenian Ministry of Education pursued the agreed priority at EU level, while holding the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU. While visibility of adult learning rose under COVID-19, advocacy coalitions formed at national (Slovenian) and European level facilitated stronger alignment in agenda setting among different actors towards a holistic approach that calls for inter-sectorial and multi-stakeholder collaboration.


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Author Biographies

Marcella Milana, University of Verona

Marcella Milana is Associate Professor at the University of Verona, Italy, and Honorary Professor of Adult Education at the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom. She researches the politics, policy and governance of adult education and learning, from comparative and global perspectives, including in multi-scalar systems like the European Union. She is editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Lifelong Education.

Borut Mikulec, University of Ljubljana

Dr. Borut Mikulec is Associate professor for adult education at the Department of Educational Sciences, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana. His fields of research are: comparative adult and continuing education, the role of transnational organisations in education policy, the policy in adult education, professional development of adult educators, and citizenship education. He has published his works in international and national scientific journals as well as in books.


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How to Cite

Milana, M., & Mikulec, B. (2023). Setting the new European agenda for adult learning 2021-2030: Political mobilisation and the influence of advocacy coalitions. European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults, 14(2).



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