Glossary:Adult education survey (AES)

The adult education survey, abbreviated as AES, is part of the European Union (EU) Statistics on lifelong learning. People aged 25 to 64 are interviewed about their participation in education activities (formal, non-formal and informal learning). The reference period for the participation in learning activities is the twelve months prior to the interview. The survey takes place every five years and its results are published on Eurostat website. The following information is available from the AES:

  • Participation in formal education, non-formal education and training and informal learning
  • Volume of instruction hours
  • Characteristics of the learning activities
  • Reasons for participating
  • Obstacles to participation
  • Access to information on learning possibilities
  • Employer financing and costs of learning
  • Self-reported language skills


The first wave of the survey, 2007 AES (also called ‘pilot survey') was carried out between 2005 and 2008 in 29 countries, either Member States of the European Union, candidate countries or countries of the European Free Trade Association. This pilot exercise was set up within a common EU framework including a standard questionnaire and quality reporting.

After this pilot exercise, the AES is run under a legal basis: Framework Regulation (EC) No 452/2008, which makes it a compulsory European survey. The second AES data collection - 2011 AES - took place in 2011 and 2012. Implementation details are provided by the Commission Regulation (EU) No 823/2010.

The third AES data collection - 2016 AES - was carried out in 2016 and 2017. Commission Regulation (EU) No 1175/2014 defined the details for implementation.

Further information

Related concepts

Statistical data