Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-hfldf Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-19T18:09:55.567Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

five - The sociodemographic obstacles to participating in lifelong learning across Europe

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 September 2022

Elisabet Weedon
Affiliation:
University of Edinburgh
Get access

Summary

Introduction

This chapter analyses the barriers that potential participants in lifelong learning face when they consider returning to education. There are considerable differences between people in relation to the extent to which they participate in learning after their initial compulsory education. Some engage in learning to improve their opportunities in the labour market, while others do it for personal fulfilment or for social and civic reasons. Some people do not re-enter the education system after their experience of initial education. As mentioned in Chapter One, the need for ongoing engagement in education has become a central focus for policymakers through the lifelong learning agenda. Lifelong learning is seen as a means of enhancing the human capital of the workforce but also as a vehicle for promoting social inclusion by providing individuals with the relevant skills to participate in the labour market. Identifying reasons for non-participation and barriers to participation in learning is therefore of great importance. This chapter examines barriers to participation by comparing a target group of learners and a control group of non-learners. The aim is to identify the structural features that may deter individuals from obtaining additional qualifications, and how these features vary in relation to particular countries and groups of countries. Of prime interest is the way in which social structures shape a person's capability to participate.

Conceptual framework

Rubenson and Desjardins (2009), in their review of the comparative literature on barriers to participation, note that most analysts draw on the classification of barriers developed by Cross (1981). The types of barrier identified by Cross are situational (that is, relating to job, family or household), dispositional or institutional. According to Rubenson and Desjardins, the main problem with the raft of studies on barriers to participation is that they tend to overemphasise individual factors and underemphasise the salience of structural factors, such as an individual's position in the socioeconomic hierarchy and the way this affects all aspects of their world view. Drawing on the work of Bourdieu (1990) and his notion of habitus, they argue that structural factors are centrally involved in individual motivation, since a person's sense of their ability to actively construct their life is shaped by the social, economic and cultural resources that they are able to mobilise.

Type
Chapter
Information
Lifelong Learning in Europe
Equity and Efficiency in the Balance
, pp. 87 - 102
Publisher: Bristol University Press
Print publication year: 2012

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×