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What happened to adults in learning during the pandemic? IBE has the answer.

During the coronavirus pandemic, education moved onto a virtual platform. The remote teaching of children and youth became a dominant topic in the public discourse. But what happened to the adults who were participating in various types of educational activities? The Educational Research Institute tried to find out. Więcej
pisa2018

High level of financial literacy among Polish youth

Polish students count and understand finances well. Of the 20 countries that participated in the additional part of the PISA 2018 survey on financial literacy, the average score of Polish 15-year-olds was one of the highest in the world. Only students from Canada, Finland and Estonia proved to be better. Więcej
smartfony ico

Smartphones at school - opportunity or threat?

The smartphone is used in almost all areas of daily life, except school. Although most children and youths aged 9-17 years use their smartphone every day, few are able to recall interesting lessons using new technologies. Read more
OECD ico

“OECD Skills Strategy: Poland” has been released

The “OECD Skills Strategy: Poland” report was presented at a conference on December 11th in Warsaw. The conference was attended by representatives of ministries, NGOs, the education sector and institutions supporting education. Dariusz Piontkowski, Minister of National Education opened the conference, and the report’s main conclusions were presented by Ludger Schuknecht, Deputy Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Więcej
pisa2018

Polish students among the best in the world. Results of the international PISA 2018 survey are out.

Polish students are ahead of everyone but young Estonians in mathematical literacy in the European Union. In terms of reading literacy, Polish youths occupy 4th place among EU countries, and in science literacy, they are third. Więcej
edukacja ico

Call for articles for a special issue of "Education"

You are cordially invited to send your texts on topics relating to the issues of scientific integrity and research ethics for consideration in an English-language issue of the "Education" [Edukacja] quarterly. The submission deadline is November 25, 2019. Więcej

What happened to adults in learning during the pandemic? IBE has the answer.

During the coronavirus pandemic, education moved onto a virtual platform. The remote teaching of children and youth became a dominant topic in the public discourse. But what happened to the adults who were participating in various types of educational activities? The Educational Research Institute tried to find out.

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Wanting to take a closer look at adult education in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Educational Research Institute conducted a survey [1].

Only selected forms of adult learning were included in the study: non-formal education (courses, training, and private lessons) and informal learning (self-study from online and printed materials). For a current picture of the situation, the study adopted a non-standard time horizon. Respondents were asked about their experiences from March 15 to the end of May, when the most stringent restrictions were in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, as well as during the 12 months before the restrictions were introduced, which was used as a reference.

Adult education in Poland during the pandemic

Before the pandemic, 12% of respondents had participated in at least one of the educational activities listed in the survey, while during the period from mid-March to the end of May - every tenth respondent. The differences in the participation level of individual educational activities during and before the pandemic are practically imperceptible.

It is worth noting that the persons who had been actively involved in an educational activity when the restrictions were in force also declared that they were engaged in adult learning in the pre-pandemic period. No evidence was found that the pandemic restrictions prompted people to start a learning activity, but an equally small percentage of respondents (3%) stated that they had discontinued a learning activity during this time.

The differences among respondents depending on their socio-demographic characteristics did not change. Persons with a higher education were more active in education (before the pandemic - 28%; during the restrictions - 25%). Those with a primary education were five times less active in the area of learning (5% - regardless of the period). In terms of age, the youngest surveyed persons were most active (25-34 years), with one in five taking part in any of the analysed activities before the pandemic, and 16% in the period from March 15 to the end of May. The percentage of participation decreased in subsequent age brackets, dropping to 7% for 55-64 year old respondents. No correlation was observed between gender or income (individual and household) and participation in educational activities either before or after the coronavirus pandemic restrictions were put in place.

Education and professional situation

Adult learning is linked to a person’s occupational situation, and the effects of the pandemic were observed to have had a significant impact in this area, which is clearly visible in the study: 25% of the respondents experienced a reduction in wages; 9% stopped working due to the restrictions, but have not formally lost their jobs; 8% were dismissed. In turn, 13% of respondents worked remotely or part-time. This form of working was available mainly to people with a higher education (70% of those who changed their form of working). As many as 38% of the respondents were afraid that they would lose their jobs in the nearest future.

What next?

The data is on the short period of the most stringent restrictions, allowing us to look at selected “hot” aspects. The results of the study “The Learning of Adult Poles”, whose fieldwork is just beginning at the Educational Research Institute, will provide in-depth knowledge on the educational activities of adult Poles and their opinions on learning in adulthood.

[1] Study on a representative sample of adult Poles (aged 15+, n=1012); „Omnibus” type of survey using the CAPI method, conducted by KANTAR Polska S.A. on June 5-10, 2020; the analysis concerns persons 25–64 years of age (n=707).

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