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Barriers towards Participation in Adult Education and Training

Anne Larson & Marcella Milana

Department of Educational Sociology
Danish University of Education

Paper presented at the European Conference on Educational Research, University of Geneva, 13-15 September 2006

Preliminary results – do not quote

Abstract

Based on exploratory factor analysis of data from a special Eurobarometer-survey dedicated to lifelong learning, different categories of reasons for not taking part in adult education and training is developed. 18.000 people living in the 15 old EU member countries in the survey were among other topics were asked what would be the most likely obstacles if they wanted to take part in education and training. The distribution of the different categories of barriers among different socio-economic groups is afterwards tested by use of logistic regression using Odds Ratios.

As a result of the exploratory factor analysis, five categories of barriers towards participation in adult education and training is developed: Lack of time and energy; negative towards re-entering education; accessibility of learning activities; lack of support; and lack of confidence in own abilities.

The factors have been combined with a number of socio-demographic variables to see how the different barriers influence different socio-demographic groups.

1. Introduction

Though different models exits in relation to the impact of ongoing technological developments on the demands for qualifications (see for instance Gooderham, 1993), the dominant view is that due to changing societies and economies, more and different qualifications are being needed, leading to an increased focus on lifelong learning. The interest for lifelong education and learning has been at the agenda for many decades, but with different intensity and to some extent also a different focus (Larson, 2005; Rubenson, 2006a). In the 1990’s lifelong education and lifelong learning re-entered the political agenda after having been more or less in the dark for about a century. At the same time, adult education went from being a tool for liberating the individual to being mainly a mainly economic tool for increasing the human capital (Larson, 2005).

When the European Council met in Lisbon 2000, the aim of the meeting was to find a way to "strengthen employment, economic reform and social cohesion as part of a knowledge-based economy" (Lisbon European council: Presidency conclusions, 2000). According to the results of the meeting, lifelong learning is that way. Lifelong learning for all, thus, today is seen as the way to secure not only the economy but also the social cohesion in the European societies.

Much research has been done in relation to participation and non-participation in adult education and training. The exact proportion of adults who participates in adult education and training varies from study to study, depending on not only time and place, but also the design of the study and how learning activities is defined (Cross, 1981; Desjardins et al., in print). As an example, according to Cross (1981), the percentage of adults taking part in learning activities in America range from 12 percent in one study to 98 percent in another study. The share of adult participating in adult education and training also differ from study to study in a pure European context. According to data from Eurostat, eleven percent of the adult Europeans had in 2005 participated in education and training in the four weeks before they were asked (Progress towards the Lisbon objectives in education and training, 2006). At the same time, with a much broader definition of participation in adult education and training, Chisholm et al. found that 31 percent of all Europeans plus Norwegians and Icelanders in 2003 had participated in some form of education and training within the last twelve months (Chisholm et al., 2004).

In spite of different definitions of participation in education and training, however, most studies agree that participation is unequally distributed among socio-economic groups (Chisholm et al., 2004; Cross, 1981; Darkenwald & Merriam, 1982; Desjardins et al., in print; Houle, 1961; Larson, 2006; McGivney, 1990; Pont, 2004, Progress towards the Lisbon objectives in education and training, 2006; Tuijnman & Hellström, 2001), and six years after the decisions taken in Lisbon, lifelong learning is still not for all (Chisholm et al., 2004; Desjardins et al., in print; Larson, 2006, Progress towards the Lisbon objectives in education and training, 2006). The question of why some people participates in adult education and training while others don’t, thus, is as relevant and urgent as ever if we want to make lifelong learning for all a reality. It is our conviction that a better understanding of the barriers towards participation in adult education and training, and the role they play for different socio-economic groups, can add to an understanding of how overcome barriers towards participation in adult education and training, and thus come closer to lifelong learning for all.

2. Conceptual framework and research questions

As mentioned above, participation in adult education and training is not equally distributed in the population. McGivney in 1990 (McGivney, 1990), based on an extensive literature review identified nine (often overlapping) groups that tend to participate less than the average citizen in adult education and training: People with no or few educational qualifications; people with basic education needs; low income groups, the unwaged, unemployed, and people dependent on state benefits; people in unskilled or semi-skilled manual occupations; ethnic minority groups; older adults; women with young children; people with mental or physical handicap and people living in certain rural areas. Almost fifteen years later, Pont (2004) in an article on participation in adult learning in OECD countries mentions much the same groups (low skilled, those with low wages, the unemployed or in other ways "far away" from the labour market, and elder people) as less likely to participate in adult education and training than the higher educated, the employed, those working in larger enterprises in white collar occupations and the younger adults. Also Desjardins et al. based on statistical analyses of existing databases mentions almost the same groups as participating least in adult education and training: The older; those who’s parents have low levels of education; the low educated and low skilled; the unemployed or low skilled; immigrants; rural residents and; in some countries women(1) (Desjardins et al., in print). In 2005 high educated Europeans participated seven times more in adult education and training than did low educated (Progress towards the Lisbon objectives in education and training, 2006).

Around 1980, Cross developed here "chain-of-response model", a conceptual framework aimed at explaining what makes some people participate in adult education and training, and others not to do it (Cross, 1981). The starting point in Cross’ model is the learning-oriented individual. If not from the onset motivated for participation in adult education and training, it is very unlikely a person will participate, no matter how much is done to eliminate barriers external to the individual. The first link in the chain, thus, consists of individual factors like self-evaluation and attitudes toward education. From this mainly psychological link, the model moves on to more and more external factors like opportunities and barriers. The next step stress the importance of a belief that participation in education and training will lead to some goals considered important. According to the model, factors like life transitions, information, and opportunities and barriers further influence whether or not an individual ends up participating in adult education and training. The Importance of the barriers towards participation in adult education and training, according to Cross and the chain-of-response model, in the end depends of how strong an interest the individual has in adult education and training. Before looking at barriers, the individual must already have an interest in participating. However, in her empirical work, Cross (1981) also includes psychological aspects in her list of barriers. Based on a review of former studies on participation in adult education and training, Cross, thus, mentions three groups of barriers towards participation in adult education and training: Dispositional barriers (for instance "low grades in the past, not confident of my ability" and "don’t enjoy studying); institutional barriers and; situational barriers, were dispositional barriers comes close to the first part of the chain in her model.

Darkenwald and Merriam (1982) building on Cross’ model a few years later developed what they called the "Psychosocial Interaction Model" for why some, but not all, people choose to participate in adult education and training. The model especially emphasises the importance of socio-economic status as a result of the initial individual and family characteristics and the preparatory education and socialisation for later participation in adult education and training. Socio-economic status, hence, according to the model have a positive effect on participation stimuli as well as on the perceived value and utility of adult education and training and thereby readiness to participate. That is, the higher socio-economic status, the more likely to give value to and see the utility of adult education and training, and to be interested in participating. The last factor influencing participation in adult education and training according to the model is barriers. But barriers do not come from nowhere. According to Darkenwald and Merriam, barriers are negatively correlated with participation stimuli – that is the more stimulated for participating in adult education and training, the fewer barriers towards participation. And as participation stimuli is a result of socio-economic status, it can also be assumed that the higher socio-economic status, the fewer barriers towards participation in adult education and training. In line with their focus on socio-economic status, Darkenwald and Merriam rename Cross’ dispositional barriers "psycho-social barriers", stressing the importance of the social environment. In the rest of this paper, dispositional or psycho-social barriers is included in the concept of barriers, allowing lack of interest as a barrier towards participation in adult education and training of equal importance as other barriers.

Common for Cross’ as well as Darkenwald and Merriam’s models is the importance they give to the more psychological aspects in relation to participation in adult education and training, and their tendency to forget to include the influence of the individual’s life history for his or hers participation in adult education and training (Rubenson, 2006b).

In the end of the 1970’s, Rubenson and some of his colleagues developed the expectancy-valence-theory on participation in adult education and training (Rubenson, 1976; Rubenson et al., 1977). According to this theory, interest in participating in adult education and training is dependent of 1) whether the individual consider participation in education and training valuable in relation to his/her experienced needs (valence), and 2) his/her expectations in relation to being able to manage and complete the education and that it will lead to the desired outcome (expectancy). If education and training is not considered having valence or the person involved does not expect that participation will lead to a desired outcome, he/she will not be interested in taking part in education and training.

In addition to different models aimed at explaining why some participates in adult education and training and other do not, a lot of empirical work has been done aimed at identifying barriers towards participation in adult education and training. In most cases, however, the barriers have been identified for adults as a whole, not distinguishing between different groups of adults – that is the importance of the different barriers for different socio-economic groups. In this paper, we intend to take a closer look at the barriers related to socio-economic groups to see if some barriers are more important for specific socio-economic groups than for others. In light of this, the paper addresses two related research questions:

  1. What types of barriers exist towards participation in adult education and training?
  2. How important are the identified clusters of barriers to different socio-economic groups?

3. Methodology

The analysis builds on data from a Eurobarometer survey from 2003 part of which were specifically dedicated to lifelong learning. Data presents participation in adult education and training seen from the perspective of the individual citizens in the fifteen old EU member states plus Norway and Iceland. Target group for the survey were citizens of the fifteen countries, living in one of the countries, and aged fifteen years or older, as well as Icelanders and Norwegians. In total 18.007 randomly selected respondents were interviewed, in average 1.000 in each country(2). Except for in Iceland where it was done by telephone, the interviews were conducted face-to-face (Chisholm et al., 2004, Lifelong learning: Citizens view, 2003). Previous analyses of the data have been presented in 2003 and 2004 (Chisholm et al., 2004; Desjardins et al., in print, Lifelong learning: Citizens view, 2003).

The aim of this analysis is to go a step further and take a closer look at the barriers towards participating in adult education and training by use of factor analysis. The questionnaire consisted of fifteen questions on opinions, experiences and attitudes towards adult education and training. In the following analysis especially one of those questions is in focus. The question was designed as a multiple choice question, were the respondents were asked to choose among a number of possible barriers/obstacles: "Suppose that you wanted to take part in some kind of studies or training. What would be the three most likely obstacles for you?" (See annex A for the question and possible answers).

The data has been analysed by use of exploratory factor analysis – more precisely principal component analysis (Darlington, 1997; Spearritt, 1998). The aim of factor analysis is to look for one or more factors underlying a number of variables. In this case, the aim of the analysis has been to look for factors underlying different statements on barriers towards participation in adult education and training.

It is not claimed that the factors resulting from the analysis is the only way to cluster barriers towards participation. Rather, a heuristic approach to factor analysis is being used (Darlington, 1997). The results are, therefore, discussed in relation to other categorisations of barriers (Cross, 1981; Darkenwald & Merriam, 1982).

The factors resulting from the analysis has afterwards been combined with a number of socio-demographic variables by use of logistic regression to see whether some factors are more likely to be a barrier for some socio-economic groups than for others. The population included in the analysis is Europeans aged 16-64, who is not full-time students. The analysis use adjusted odd rations showing the likelihood of the different barriers influencing participation in adult education and training in the future. Variables included in the adjusted odds model are age, gender, education, employment status and country of residence. In the above discussion of the analysis, the country of residence is not being dealt with. Information on educational level builds on the age the respondent left full time education. Up to fifteen years is defined as "less than upper secondary", sixteen to nineteen years is defined as "upper secondary", and twenty years or older is defined as "higher than upper secondary".

4. Preliminary results

That many people in Europe experience barriers, or obstacles, towards participating in adult education and training can be seen from the fact, that only 29 percent of the respondents answer that there would be no obstacles if they wanted to take part in some kind of studies or training (Chisholm et al., 2004). 71 percent, or more than 2/3 of the respondents, thus, experience some kind of barriers towards participation in adult education and training. But what type of barriers – or obstacles – are they experiencing? The questionnaire lists fourteen different barriers. The answers have been analysed by use of factor analysis(3) (see annex B). The result is five categories: Lack of time and energy; negative towards re-entering education, lack of available courses, lack of support, and lack of confidence in own abilities.

Table 1: Categories of barriers based on factor analysis of Eubarometer data

Lack of time and/or energy

Negative towards re-entering education

Lack of available courses/equipment

Lack of support

Lack of confidence in own abilities

My job commitments take up too much energy

I think I am too old to learn

There are no courses that suit my needs

My employer would not support me

I would not like people to know about it in case I didn’t do well

My family commitments take up too much time

I have never been good at studying

There are no courses available nearby, I could not get to them

My family would not support me

I have not the necessary qualifications to take up the studies/training course I would like to

I would have to give up some or all of my free time or leisure activities

I would not like to go back to something that is like school

I would need some equipment that I do not have (computer, etc.)

 

I do not know what I could do that would be interesting or useful

The first group of barriers has something to do with time and energy, and how it is prioritised. The job or the family takes too much energy and the person does not intend to use the free time left on learning activities. We call this category "lack of time and/or energy". At first sight, this factor falls well into Cross’ and Darkenwald & Merriam’s situational barriers, that is barriers related to the individuals situation such as job and family responsibilities. However, our factor also includes a reluctance to spend the free time left on learning activities, stressing that lack of time may not only be a question of the actual time available but also a question of how different ways to spend the time is prioritised, as indicated above. That job commitments take up too much energy, thus, does not necessarily mean that that the work is consuming so much energy that nothing is left for spare time. It might also be that the energy left is preferably being spent on something else than education and training. It could therefore also be termed "other activities given higher priority in relation to time and energy".

When asking people, why they do not participate in adult education and training, the most often mentioned barrier according to numerous studies is lack of time and/or money (Bélanger & Valdivielso, 1997; Chisholm et al., 2004; Darkenwald & Merriam, 1982; Desjardins et al., in print). Lack of time, however, is a very vague construct and difficult to decipher. As Desjardins et al. (in print) phrase it, how much time is set aside for learning activities depends on the life situation. "Lack of time" may in fact say more about how a person prioritise his/her time than how much time is left for other activities when work is over. According to a Danish study focusing on men aged 40-60 years with a short education (Christensen et al., 1997), men with a short education tend to focus on their family and their leisure-time and being unwilling to accept educational activities that threatens the dividing line between work and spare time. Also, Belanger and Valdivielso (1997) in a study found a positive correlation between participation in adult education and training and participation in other cultural activities like reading, use of libraries, and participation in associations, but at the same time a negative correlation between television viewing and participation in adult education and training.

Further, lack of time may just be a convenient and socially accepted reason for not taking part in education and training, covering up other reasons. The importance of time and money as deterrents for non-participation might, thus, be overestimated (Cross, 1981; Darkenwald & Merriam, 1982; McGivney, 1990). McGivney points to the fact, that unemployed people - that is people without any job-related obligations - are less likely to take part in adult education and training than are employed people. Instead of lack of time and money, McGivney in a study from 1990 highlights the importance of attitudes and expectations:

"Education is simply not part of the value system and behaviour pattern of a disturbing number of people" (McGivney, 1990, p. 4).

The second group of barriers seems to have something to do with specific expectations in relation to what learning activities are, comparing it to childhood education. The respondent think he/she has never been good at studying and/or don’t like to go back to something like school. Further, learning seems to be considered as something mainly for children and youngsters (I am too old to learn). We name this factor "negative towards re-entering education".

At a first look, this category seems to fall into Cross’ dispositional and Darkenwald & Merriam’s psycho-social barriers. Cross’, thus, as examples of dispositional barriers mention "afraid I am too old to begin", "don’t enjoy studying", and "tired of school, tired of classrooms" (Cross, 1981, p. 99). Looking closer at the single reasons included in the category, it might, though, have more to do with expectations to what adult education and training involves that a psychological resistance towards education and training. "I would not like to go back to something that is like school" might have something to do with bad experiences at a psychological level, but it might also be the result of having come to a time in life where it seems useless and not leading to an expected outcome, referring to Rubensons expectancy-valence model.

The third group of barriers relates to the accessibility of learning activities. There are no courses that suit the respondents’ needs, no relevant courses nearby or participation in interesting courses would imply use of equipment that the respondent do not have. We call this category "lack of available courses/equipment", underlining that though there might be courses that are theoretically available for the individual, they might involve a need for equipment the person does not possess, and thereby in reality not being accessible. This category suits very well Cross’ and Darkenwald & Merriam’s institutional barriers. In also points at distance learning and learning by use of ICT not necessarily helping to overcome barriers related to accessibility of courses, but just creating a new kind of institutional barriers. We might also call this factor accessibility of courses.

The fourth group of barriers has something to do with lack of support, either from the employer or from the family. We therefore term this factor "lack of support". We might also have called it social barriers, as it refers to the person’s social relations. In line with Darkenwald and Merriam’s model, it stresses the importance of the social aspects of the individual’s life.

The fifth category is called lack of confidence in own abilities. As for the first category, this fits well into Cross’ dispositional barriers, referring to the person’s self-esteem in relation to participation in adult education and training. The category, however, at the same time includes a statement that can be seen as a kind of resignation in relation to adult education and training: "I do not know what I could do that would be interesting or useful", a statement that does not necessarily have anything to do with psychological aspects.

The results of our analysis based on the Eurobarometer data, hence, points at the barriers towards participation in adult education and training being more complex and possibly related to more aspects of life than both Cross’ and Darkenwald and Merriam’s models at first sight points at. It might be that negativity towards re-entering education, lack of support and lack of confidence in own abilities can be seen as dispositional barriers in Cross’ term, or psycho-social in Darkenwald and Merriam’s. But then again, neither their model nor our categories says anything about how this barriers are perceived at the individual level and the reasons they have become a barrier for the individual person.

Trying to get a better understanding of the factors identified above, we therefore take a closer look at how they each influence different socio-economic groups. As mentioned above, much research shows a difference in participation rate between different socio-economic groups, but how about the barriers towards participation in learning activities in adulthood, are they different for different socio-economic groups as well?

Lack of time and energy

This factor is – as in many other studies within this field – the most often mentioned reason for not participating in adult education and training. Almost half of the respondents refer to one or more of the variables included in this factor as one of up to three obstacles that prevent them from taking part in adult education and training. It is especially those aged between 25 and 44 for who lack of time and energy is a barrier towards participation in adult education and training. Taking into consideration that at that age many will have children living at home and at the same time probably making a career, this can hardly be said to be surprising.

Lack of time and energy is significantly less likely to be a barrier towards participation in adult education and training for the oldest age group at the labour market - that is those aged 55-64. This age group, in fact, is also the only age group for who lack of time and energy is not the barrier mentioned most often.

When it comes to gender, women are more likely than men to consider lack of time and energy an obstacle toward participation in adult education and training. Also educational level has some influence on the tendency to consider lack of time and energy a barrier towards participation in adult education and training, lack of time and energy being more likely to be a barrier for those with more than upper secondary education being most likely than for others. In relation to occupational status, lack of time and energy is least likely to be a barrier for the unemployed and the retired/unable to work, while it is significantly more likely to be a barrier for the employed, the self-employed and the homemakers compared to the unemployed. It is especially likely to be a barrier for the self-employed.

Negative towards re-entering education

As mentioned in the above paragraph, those aged 55-64 are the only ones for who lack of time and energy is not the most often mentioned obstacle towards participation and training. For this age group, negativity towards re-entering education is the most important barrier. Negativity towards re-entering education also most likely to be a barrier for this age group together with those aged 45-54 years, while it is significantly less likely to be a barrier for those aged 16-44 years. As own experiences from school are to be expected to influence ones expectations to adult education and training, a possible explanation to this relation between age and the likeliness that negativity towards re-entering education could be pedagogical changes in schools that have changed how pupils feels about going to school. Whether that could be an explanation, however, demands further studies looking closer into how adult perceive their own school time and why and how schools have changed over years.

There are no gender differences in relation to the likelihood of negativity towards re-entering education works as a barrier towards participation in adult education and training, but there is a difference when it comes to educational level. Not surprisingly, are negative attitudes towards re-entering education significantly more likely to be a barrier for those who left school at age 15 or younger, compared to those who stayed in school for more years. For some of those who left school at an early age, it might thus have been that staying in school was not a very attractive option due to a negative attitude towards education.

Taking the unemployed as point of reference there are no significant differences for most of the other occupational groups. A negative attitude towards re-entering education, though, is significantly less likely to be a barrier for the self-employed than for the un-employed. Further, negativity towards re-entering educations is within 5 percent level of statistical significance, more likely to be a barrier for those retired/unable to work than for the unemployed. It might be that education for the unemployed is seen as ways to (re-)enter the labour market, while that is not the case for those retired and/or unable to work.

Lack of available courses/equipment

There are not many differences between different socio-economic groups when it comes to the lack of available courses and/or equipment as a likely barrier towards participation in adult education and training. Neither gender nor level of education has any influence on the likelihood of this barrier. Employment status thus have an influence of the likelihood for lack of available courses/equipment being a barrier, with employed and self-employed being significantly less likely than unemployed to mention this barrier, while there are no differences in the likelihood for those retired/unable to work or the homemakers compared to the unemployed. It should, however, in relation to this factor be kept in mind, that we are talking about availability as experienced by the individual, not the actual availability. The employed and self-employed being less likely to have lack of available courses as a barrier, thus, can not be taken as an expression for courses being more available for this group. It is possible, that they are just simply more aware of the courses available.

Using the 55 to 64 years olds as reference, lack of available courses is also more likely to be a barrier for those aged 25-34 and within a 5 percent level of statistical significance for those aged 35-44 years as well.

Lack of support

As for lack of available courses, there are not many differences in the likelihood of lack of support as a barrier for participation in adult education and training among the socio-economic groups included in the analysis. Neither in relation to gender nor in relation to educational level, can any differences be found. Lack of support is as likely to be a barrier for men as for women, and as likely for the low educated as for the high educated.

Employment status, however, seems to have an influence on the likelihood of lack of support being a barrier. Lack of support, thus, is less likely to be a barrier for the self-employed and the retired as for the unemployed, while it is slightly more likely to be a barrier for the employed(4). Support can be both economically and mental. A study among unskilled workers in Denmark points at employers mental support may have an influence on the motivation to participate in adult education and training among unskilled worker (Larson, 2004). It is likely the same is the case for other groups of employees.

Lack of support is also a bit more likely to be a barrier among the 25-54 years old than among those aged 55-64(5).

Lack of confidence in own abilities

Lack of confidence in own abilities is significantly more likely to be a barrier for those aged 55-64 than for most of the other age groups. Only for 16-24 years olds is there no statistical significant difference in the likelihood compared to the oldest age group. The oldest and the youngest at the labour market, thus, seems to be most likely to lack confidence in their own abilities when it comes to participating in adult education and training, and to give up participation for that reason. Not surprisingly, are lack of confidence in own abilities is also more likely to be a barrier for those who left school in a young age than for those who stayed longer, whereas there are no differences between men and women.

Finally, is lack of confidence in own abilities less likely to be a barrier for the employed and self-employed compared to the unemployed, the retired/unable to work and the homemakers. It might thus be, that being at the labour market have a positive influence on the confidence in own abilities.

5. Conclusions and perspectives

By use of exploratory factor analysis we have identified five different factors that acts as barriers towards participation in adult education and training: Lack of time and/or energy; negative towards re-entering education, lack of available courses/equipment, lack of support, and lack of confidence in own abilities. These factors have afterwards been combined with a number of socio-demographic characteristics by logistic regression, adjusting for age, gender, educational level, employment status and country of residence.

According to our analysis, men and women tend to experience the same barriers towards participating in adult education. For one category, however, women are more likely to experience the barrier than are men. Lack of time and/or energy, thus, is more likely to be a barrier for women than it is for men. One reason could be that in spite of more and more women entering the labour market, women in many cases are still the main responsible for the home, leaving them with more than one job. Further research are needed looking closer into the lives of men and women to see if this is the case, and if it can explain this only difference between men and women when it comes to barriers towards participation in adult education and training.

Our analysis also points at a negative attitude towards re-entering education being least likely to be a barrier for self-employed compared to other occupational groups. Also in this case, further analyses and studies are needed to look deeper into the reasons for this.

Further, our analysis points at lack of confidence in own abilities being most likely to be a barrier for the youngest and the oldest in the economically-active age. Compared to prior studies, what is most interesting in relation to this finding is the lack of confidence in own abilities as a barrier towards participation in adult education and training among the youngest, that is those aged 16-24 years. Also here, further studies are needed to explain why that is the case.

Finally, our findings shows that lack of confidence in own abilities are least likely to be a barrier for those active at the labour market, that is the employed and the self-employed. Is it, that the simple fact being a member of the labour force increases the confidence in own abilities, or the other way around that not being active at the labour market decreases a persons confidence in own abilities? This is another question, were further analyses are needed to find an explanation.

Besides of the need for further studies, our preliminary results also indicates some consequences for the initiatives that should be taken if we want to increase the participation in adult education and training, also for those groups who are today most likely to be non-participants.

Based on the analysis it is found that older Europeans – who is one of the groups most likely not to participate in adult education and training are more likely to be non-participants due to negativity towards re-entering education and a lack of support than are the younger age groups. Programmes intended to increase their participation in adult education, thus, should focus on changing their views on adult education and training and probably also their ideas of what it is to participate in adult education. Further, it could advantageously focus on ways to increase the oldest age groups confidence in own abilities in relation to participation in adult education and training. The same initiatives could probably also help increase the participation rate among the low-educated, another group overrepresented among those not participating.

Notes

1. The influence of gender on the likeliness to participate in adult education and training is ambiguous. Not only does it differ from country to country (Bélanger & Valdivielso, 1997; Desjardins et al., in print), it also seems to have changed over years. According to McGivney, thus, initiatives aimed at increasing participation in adult education and training in Britain, have had a higher impact on women than on men, with the implication that opposite to the situation in 1990, British women today participate more than do British men in adult education and training (McGivney, 1999).

2. The number of respondents in Germany was about 2.000 in Great Britain about 1.500 and in Iceland and Luxembourg about 600.

3. As mentioned above, the categories “no obstacles” and “don’t know” have been excluded from the analysis

4. Within a 5 percent level of statistical significance

5. Also within a 5 percent level of statistical significance

6. Source: (Chisholm et al., 2004).

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Annex A: Question 11, Eurobarometer Survey 2003(6)

Annex B: Factor analysis

Q11C: 1.There would not be any obstacles

-0,51

-0,49

-0,29

-0,25

0,13

Q11C: 2.My job commitments take up too much energy

0,72

-0,10

-0,07

0,04

-0,06

Q11C: 3.My employer would not support me

0,12

-0,10

0,01

0,68

0,03

Q11C: 4.My family commitments take up too much energy

0,58

0,01

0,06

0,10

0,09

Q11C: 5.My family would not support me

-0,01

0,02

-0,04

0,73

0,07

Q11C: 6.I would have to give up some or all of my free time or leisure activities

0,65

0,06

0,02

-0,05

0,02

Q11C: 7.I would not like people to know about it in case I didn't do well

-0,02

0,28

-0,05

0,11

0,50

Q11C: 8.I think I am too old to learn

-0,15

0,59

0,02

0,09

-0,09

Q11C: 9.I have not the necessary qualif. to take up the studies/training course I would like to

-0,06

0,23

0,26

0,18

0,42

Q11C: 10.I have never been good at studying

0,00

0,58

0,02

-0,06

0,22

Q11C: 11.I would not want to go back to something that is like school

0,15

0,52

-0,04

-0,19

0,01

Q11C: 12.There are no courses that suit my needs

0,00

0,01

0,56

0,07

-0,14

Q11C: 13.There are no courses available nearby, I could not get to them

0,04

-0,09

0,69

-0,02

0,06

Q11C: 14.I would need some equipment that I do not have (computer, etc.)

0,00

0,07

0,52

-0,06

0,07

Q11C: 15.I do not know what I could do that would be interesting or useful

-0,15

0,35

0,06

0,09

-0,73

Q11C: Other obstacle (SPONTANEOUS)

-0,06

-0,08

-0,07

-0,06

0,00

Q11C: DK

-0,12

-0,12

-0,08

-0,07

0,04

Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis.
Rotation Method: Varimax with Kaiser Normalization.

Annex C: Regression analysis

     

Lack of time and energy

Negative towards re-entering education

Lack of available courses

Lack of support

Lack of confidence in own abilities

 

%

N

%

Adj. odds

%

Adj. odds

%

Adj. odds

%

Adj. odds

%

Adj. odds

Age

                       

16-24

10.0

1,306

38.0

1.3*

26.0

0.7*

15.0

1.2

11.7

1.2

17.7

0.8

25-34

23.3

3,051

56.7

2.5*

19.7

0.5*

17.5

1.6*

11.9

1.3**

14.7

0.7*

35-44

25.0

3,274

54.7

2.3*

21.8

0.6*

14.9

1.3**

12.3

1.4**

15.5

0.8*

45-54

22.2

2,903

44.7

1.6*

30.8

0.9

14.0

1.2

11.0

1.4**

17.7

0.8*

55-64

19.4

2,540

27.6

1.0

33.8

1.0

14.0

1.0

6.4

1.0

25.2

1.0

Gender

Women

53.0

6,926

49.4

1.3*

26.1

0.9

16.5

1.1

10.5

1.0

19.6

1.0

Men

47.0

6,148

41.5

1.0

26.5

1.0

13.7

1.0

10.6

1.0

16.7

1.0

Education

Less than upper secondary

20.1

2,631

38.3

1.0

33.0

1.0

14.1

1.0

8.4

1.0

27.8

1.0

Upper secondary

47.1

6,160

47.1

1.1

27.0

0.8*

16.3

1.1

11.9

1.2

16.6

0.5*

Higher than upper secondary

32.8

4,283

50.6

1.3*

16.4

0.4*

13.5

0.9

10.0

1.0

9.8

0.3*

Employment status

Unemployed

8.7

1,131

26.7

1.0

27.6

1.0

20.6

1.0

10.0

1.0

21.8

1.0

Employed

58.7

7,676

49.1

2.6*

25.0

0.9

13.0

0.6*

14.1

1.4**

14.7

0.7*

Self-employed

10.0

1,313

58.5

3.9*

20.9

0.7*

13.1

0.7*

5.2

0.5*

12.3

0.6*

Retired/unable to work

10.6

1,385

20.2

1.1

32.2

0.8

17.1

1.0

4.3

0.5*

25.7

1.0

Homemaker

12.0

1,569

54.5

2.8*

28.9

1.0

18.3

0.9

9.0

1.0

24.8

1.2

Total

13,074

45.5

26.3

15.1

10.6

18.1

*: p < 0.01 level of statistical significance

** p< 0.05 level of statistical significance

This document was added to the Education-Line database on 06 October 2006