Whether it’s improving wellbeing, wages, self-confidence or social inclusion, adult education can help to promote equality in European society; this however is dependent on participation, and especially participation from those who could benefit most from developing their skills. Those least likely to access adult education are often the ones that need it most. For many adults with low skills, education is characterised by stigma and discomfort, so outreach and access programmes can help not only in developing the confidence of these adults, but also in providing them with skills or qualifications to develop their employability and careers.
As the experiences of EAEA members clearly demonstrate, outreach and access have only become more difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic. Self-isolation and social distancing, digital exclusion, precarious employment situations and a general feeling of uncertainty have mounted new barriers that keep adults from learning. Once again, those who lose out are adults most in need of better (basic) skills.
Consult our newly published statement on improving outreach and access to adult learning in times of COVID-19, which concludes EAEA’s thematic work in 2020.