Almost half of adults participate in life-long learning


Data of the Adult Education Survey (AES) conducted by the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) show that in 2016 almost half (47.5 %) of Latvian adults (aged 2564) participated in formal1 and/or non-formal2 education, 36.7 % of whom did so in relation to their work. Last year, population participation in learning activities has grown notably – by 15.2 percentage points over the past five years (since the previous survey).

Adult participation in formal and/or non-formal education and training
(as per cent)


Females participate in adult education activities more commonly, however, males also tend to get more involved

Just like in previous years, in 2016 females participated in education and training more often than males (51.9 % and 42.7 %, respectively). Nevertheless, the level of participation of males has increased over recent years, and since 2011 the share of males participating in life-long learning has grown by 15.8 percentage points, while that of females – by 14.6 percentage points.

Males and females participating in formal and/or non-formal adult education
 (as per cent)

In addition, more than a half of population aged 25–34 and 35–44 participated in adult education and training activities in 2016 – 56.9 % and 52.8 %, respectively.  Smaller share of adult education participants was observed within the age groups 45–54 (46.6 %) and 55–64 (34.1 %). Compared to 2011, participation in life-long learning has grown in each age group, with the highest increase in that of 25–34 years (of 18.9 percentage points) and the lowest in that of 55–64 years (of 14.4 percentage points).


Participation in formal and/or non-formal adult education and training by age
 (as per cent)


Persons that had acquired higher education as well as employed persons were participating in adult education more commonly – 65.9 % and 55.7 %, respectively. Similar trend may be observed also in results of the previous surveys.

People that were willing, but did not participate in education and training, mentioned the following difficulties: cost: training was too expensive, could not afford (48.4 %), schedule: training conflicted with work schedule (42.2 %), and family responsibilities: lack of time due to family responsibilities (30.5 %). The main difficulty mentioned by males was schedule (44.3 %), whereas that indicated by females – cost (52.6 %). Respondents aged 25–54 admitted that main difficulties were related to the schedule, whereas people aged 55–64 admitted that were hindered by health or age and cost.


Work quality is improved by participating mainly in non-formal education

Life-long learning consists of formal and non-formal education, as well as informal learning3. Out of the population aged 25–64, 4.4 % participated in formal education. Out of them, employed persons took the largest share (76.4 %), followed by the population aged 25–34 (64.8 %) and persons that had acquired higher education (52.0 %).

Significant place in the life-long learning is devoted to non-formal education. Out of the population aged 25–64, 45.7 % participated in non-formal education. The main reasons for participating in courses, conferences, workshops or seminars were to do job better and/or improve carrier prospects (89.2 %), to increase knowledge/skills on a subject that interests (71.4 %), and to get knowledge/skills useful in everyday life (70.9 %). Adult participation in non-formal education was mainly job-related (it was indicated by 77.3 % of the surveyed population).

Out of the population aged 25–64, 82.1 % participated in informal learning activities, which are not organised, are less structured and can take place almost anywhere: within the family, at work, acquiring information from mass media, books, museums, exhibitions and other social events, sharing experience with parents, friends, colleagues or taking their best practice. In the number of mentioned people, employed persons took the largest proportion (77.7 %), followed by the population aged 25–34 (26.7 %) and persons that had acquired secondary education (50.6 %).


Adult Education Survey is conducted once in five years in all European Union Member States based on a methodology developed by the Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat). The survey is aimed at acquiring comprehensive and internationally comparable information on Latvian adult population (aged 25–64) participating in life-long learning. The survey covered population aged 25–64 within the whole territory of Latvia, and 5803 persons participated in the survey.


Methodological explanations

1Formal education – a system which includes basic education, secondary education and higher education levels the acquisition of the programme of which is certified by an education or professional qualification document recognised by the State, as well as an education and professional qualification document.

2Non-formal education – any organised educational activities outside of the formal education system, organised as courses, conferences, lectures, seminars or workshops. The aim of non-formal education is to acquire or improve one’s skills, knowledge and competences related to work, public and personal aims.

3Informal learning – learning that is intentional, but is less organised and less structured, i.e. non-taught learning with an aim to improve one’s skills, acquire new knowledge. Informal learning may take place as follows: 1) self-learning using pre-printed materials (books, magazines, specific literature); 2) interactive learning using a computer, the Internet; 3) learning acquiring information from radio or television broadcasts, audio-video tapes; 4) attendance of libraries, training centres; 5) learning from family members, colleagues.


More detailed information on Adult Education Survey will be available in the CSB database on 19 December 2017.




Media requests:
Communication Section
E-mail: media [at] csb [dot] gov [dot] lv
Phone: +371 67366924, +371 27880666


More information on data:
Jānis Kliģis,
Culture, Education, Science and Health Statistics Section
E-mail: Janis [dot] Kligis [at] csb [dot] gov [dot] lv
Phone: +371 67366910