Sources & Methods


This survey mainly involves the collection of data on the participation in formal, non-formal and informal education and training.  For formal and non-formal educational activity, information such as the volume of hours of instruction/study, specialisation of course, and methods of payment are obtained.

The Adult Education Survey (AES) is carried out among all European countries, as part of the EU Statistics on lifelong learning indicators and is carried out under EU framework regulation, EC Regulation 1175/2014.

Methodological description of survey

The AES survey is carried out once in every 4 years and focuses on people aged 25-64 living in private households.  The reference period for the participation in education and training is the twelve months prior to the interview. 

A systematic sample of 1,500 private households is selected.  Data collection is carried out via face to face computer assisted interviews, with the exception of very few interviews which are carried out over the phone.

Accuracy and reliability of data

Information on the accuracy and reliability of data can be viewed in a dedicated quality report available on the NSO’s metadata website. 

Timeliness and punctuality of data

At a national level, a news release is published every 4 years following the collection of adult education data pertaining to the relevant reference year.  Such releases are published on the NSO’s website as scheduled in the Advance Release Calendar with a three-month advance notice.

AES data is also transmitted to Eurostat within 6 months after the end of the national data collection period.

Accessibility and clarity of data

The dedicated news release is made available on the NSO’s website.

Two quality reports, one for national use and the other for international use, are produced following the collection of AES data. 

Coherence and comparability/consistency of data

AES is fully comparable as from 2007, that is, since when such survey was conducted. 

The AES manual is adhered to for the whole procedure and this enables geographical comparability among European Union member states, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) members, and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries. 

Comparison of AES results with the data collected in LFS is possible albeit different methodological procedures exist between the two sources for the computation of statistics of formal and non-formal education.  Differences in rates of participation between the two sources may be attributed to differences in the reference period, being 4 weeks in LFS, and 12 months in AES.


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