Literacy Level 1 and below versus literacy Level 4 and above – International results regarding participation in adult education Anke Grotlüschen
Summary: Literacy, as specified in the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) survey (OECD 2013), is separated into competence levels. This allows for a comparison of adults performing at literacy Level 1 and below versus those performing at Level 4 and above. The PIAAC survey also contains variables on participation in adult education. The findings show how type of seminar or training, type of employment (monotony) and type of learning (formal, non-formal, informal or mere readiness to learn) correlate with participation rates. Most findings confirm the ‘Matthew Effect’ for participation rates, but this is not true for training hours. More training hours are delivered to subpopulations with lower literacy levels than to those with higher levels. Barriers to training comprise costliness and lack of time, and many respondents indicated training they had wished to undertake but for some reason did not. Conclusions point at the paradoxon of need for employment being the most important reason for attending training and at the same time being the most important barrier to undertaking training. The learning strategies’ indicator shows that the majority of the population is ready to learn but do not participate in adult education and training to do so. As a whole, roughly one-third of the low-literate subpopulations participate in adult education and training.