Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Issue of Non-Formal Adult Education in the Czech Republic

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

The Issue of Non-Formal Adult Education in the Czech Republic

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study deals with the issue of non-formal education in the Czech Republic. In this regard, it focuses on the participation of adults in non-formal education in and outside of a workplace and on the conditioning factors of their participation. For this purpose, the study uses a quantitative research strategy through which the data for the representative sample of adults were collected (N = 1,022). The study found that the participation rate of the adult population in non-formal education in the Czech Republic is 29%, where 33% of adults do participate in non-formal education in the workplace and only 17% of adults participate outside of the workplace. The main factors affecting the participation of local inhabitants in education are age and socioeconomic status. The higher the status is, the higher the participation is. The current situation in the Czech Republic differs from other countries because of the comparatively large number of self-employed people in the Czech Republic. On the other hand, it shares with other countries a similar structure of people excluded from educational activities.

Keywords: lifelong learning, non-formal education, adult education, Czech Republic, adult learner

1. Introduction

The aim of this study is to analyze non-formal adult education in the Czech Republic (herein after CR). Specifically, it focuses on the description of the structure of participants in non-formal education and on the factors which influence their participation. In accordance with the statements of many authors (Coombs, 1968, 1985; Coombs & Ahmed, 1974, p. 8; Desjardins et al., 2006; Tight, 2002, pp. 69-71) and international documents (European Coimnission, 2000, p. 8) we consider non-formal education to be a type of organized educational activities which take place outside of the formal education system, they are mostly not certificated and are carried out by employers and/or other organizations or participants.

The issue of non-formal adult education falls under the category of lifelong learning, where it assumes a key role (Aspin & Chapman, 2000; Edwards, 1997; Field, 2001; Illeris, 2004a; Jarvis, 2004, 2008; Rabusicová & Rabusic, 2008b; Simek, 1996). That is because a large portion of continuing education is realized through non-formal education, be it in or outside the workplace. For this reason some authors (Rubenson, 2006, 2011a; Desjardins, 2011) emphasise that the importance of non-formal education has been continually increasing over the last twenty years. This claim is supported by documents of the European Union (European Coimnission, 2000), as well as by the employers emphasising the development of the workforce by means of education directly in the workplace (Desjardins et al., 2006; Boudard & Rubenson, 2003). In response to this, some authors (Cañé, 2000; Coffield, 1999; Tight, 1998a) write about the pressure that is put on individuals by employers to constantly keep educating themselves and about particular legitimate practices that are used for this purpose.

The beginnings of more intensive research into the issue of adult participation in non-formal education can be dated back to the 1980s, when the first extensive research took place in Great Britain. This issue is, at present, still being researched and it occupies the interest of many researchers (Rubenson, 2011a; Slowey, 2011), government institutions and international organizations (Eurostat, 2013; European Commission, 2002; UNESCO, 2005).

According to Richard Desjardin (2011), the research on the issue of adult education deals with three fundamental questions: What is the scope of adult participation? Who are the participants in adult education? And why do certain groups participate in adult education more than others? We will keep these three questions in mind because their answers represent a necessary presumption for the examination of the issue of non-formal adult education in the CR. …

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