The impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on nonformal adult education has become a frequently discussed issue in lifelong learning. Nonformal adult education is understood here as all organised adult learning outside formal education that usually does not result in official certification. Many scholars have considered the pandemic as the leading cause of both decreased participation in nonformal adult education and increased inequality among adults. Nevertheless, it has not yet been empirically established how profound this outcome has been for participation patterns, inequality and perceived barriers to involvement in nonformal adult education. Accordingly, this study explored how much the pandemic contributed to a decrease in overall participation, changes in participation patterns, as well as contributed to an increase in related inequalities in the Czech Republic. This article reports on results from a national representative survey in June 2020 (N = 1013) conducted between the first and second wave of the pandemic. Trends in participation in nonformal adult education along with barriers were mapped for the 12 months preceding the survey. To establish trends, we compared our results with data from the Adult Education Survey conducted in 2011 and 2016, respectively. Our analytical approach is primarily based on descriptive statistics and modelling factors influencing the involvement of adults in nonformal adult education. We found that overall participation in nonformal adult education decreased from June 2019 to June 2020 to its lowest recorded level. Furthermore, the results indicate that inequality based on educational attainment, as well as the perception of substantial institutional and situational barriers have significantly increased.

Cite as

Kalenda, J., Kočvarováa, I. & Boeren, E. 2023, 'Impact of COVID‐19 on participation and barriers in nonformal adult education in the Czech Republic', European Journal of Education, 58(4), pp. 681-698. https://doi.org/10.1111/ejed.12580

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Last updated: 30 November 2023
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