Two out of five adults in Estonia would like to study more
Text Mark Taylor Photo Kenny Eliason / Unsplash
According to data released by Statistics Estonia, an estimated 80 per cent of the population aged 20-64 participated in adult education in the previous year. Participation in adult education is higher among women, younger age groups, people with higher educational attainment, and native speakers of Estonian. Self-development has become considerably more popular among 50-64-year-olds in recent year. At the same time, the results indicate that two out of five adults would have liked to study more.
The Adult Education Survey showed that participation in different forms of study – formal education, training, and self-study – has become much more common among adults in recent years. In 2007, the share of adults participating in education was 63.6 per cent, whereas in 2016 this share was already 85.4 per cent. Compared with the previous survey in 2016, the rate of participation in adult education has decreased a little but was still high at 80.3 per cent in 2022.
“Compared with 15 years ago, the biggest rise has occurred in the share of adults participating in self-study. Participation in training has also increased, but the share of adults participating in formal education – that is, attending a school of general, vocational or higher education – has remained at a similar level compared with 2007,” noted Käthrin Randoja, a leading analyst at Statistics Estonia.
Participation in adult education has increased in all age groups but most notably among 50-64-year-olds
The share of participants in adult education was higher among women at 83.0 per cent, compared to 77.7 per cent of men. Women were more active participants in education across all age groups.
Also, studying is more common among young people “88.9 per cent of 20-29-year-olds and 82 per cent of 30-39-year-olds learned something new in 2022. The rate of participation in adult education was 81.4 per cent among 40-49-year-olds and 74.2 per cent in the age group 50-64. It should be noted that 50-64-year-olds is the age group where the number of those studying has increased the most over the last 15 years, by 23.9 per cent,” added Randoja.
People with higher educational attainment are more likely to undertake in self-development
According to the survey, self-development correlates strongly with the highest completed level of education. The data show that the rate of participation in adult education was 65.0 per cent among the population with below upper secondary education, 77,1 per cent among the population with upper secondary education, and 89.7 per cent among the population with a higher education.
If we look at participation based on a person’s mother tongue, the data showed that the share of those studying is higher than average among native speakers of Estonian, at 82.9 per cent.
Training is usually paid for by the employer
Among the working-age population, participation in adult education was the highest in the service sector (86.6 per cent). The share of employees engaged in studying was 77.6 per cent in the agricultural sector and 74.8 per cent in the industrial sector.
The survey also revealed that people participate in training mostly for work-related reasons, and the training costs were fully paid by the employer in the case of 56.1 per cent of respondents, with only 15.6 per cent of people attending training that they paid for themselves. The remaining training courses were either free for the participant, paid for by a third party (e.g. family member or friend), or paid for by the employee and employer together. On average, 2.7 trainings were attended during year.
Only 20% of adults did not take part in any educational training last year
The share of persons who claim that they have not intentionally studied anything new in the last year has fallen significantly in the last 15 years – from 36.4 per cent to just 19.7 per cent today. “The groups more likely not to participate in lifelong learning are 50-64-year-olds, men, persons with below upper secondary education, persons whose mother tongue is Russian, and persons working in the agricultural or the industrial sector,” added Randoja.
Lack of a suitable time is the biggest obstacle to participation in training
39.2 per cent of the survey respondents would have liked to study more. This share was 34.4 per cent among men and 44.2 per cent among women. 15 per cent of the people who did not want to participate more in formal education or training but did, said that they needed this. “This points to an interesting gap between people’s awareness and motivation, while people understand the value of learning, they do not always have the motivation or means to pursue it, for various reasons,” said Randoja.
The main obstacle preventing participation is that the time of the training does not fit a person’s schedule. This was cited as an obstacle by 25 per cent of respondents who would have wanted or needed to study more. Other obstacles to participation were a lack of suitable training courses (14 per cent), the high cost of training (13 per cent), and family-related reasons (11 per cent).