Chapter 14: Adult Learning in the Czech Republic: A Youth- and Female-Oriented System?
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This chapter focuses on adult learning in the Czech Republic in the last two decades. In it, we search for answers to two research questions: (1) What are the main characteristics of the participants in adult learning in the Czech Republic? and (2) What are the outcomes of adult learning? At present, there are only a few available analyses on adult learning and its consequences in the Czech Republic. The lack of interest in the subject might be partly explained by the dearth of appropriate data or – to some degree – by a low public interest in the issues of lifelong learning in general. Despite the fact that adult education was very common in the past and that adult students represented a significant share of all students during the socialist era, adult learning has not been a priority of any of the Czech Republic’s post-communist governments. Our chapter begins with a short overview of the institutional context in which adult learning takes place. We first briefly describe the main features of the Czech Republic’s labor market and the main changes it underwent in the last two decades. Afterward, we describe the educational system in the country with a special emphasis on the options available to adults who decide to participate in learning activities. The empirical part of the chapter is divided into two parts. The first part focuses on our first research question and explores the characteristics of individuals who participate in adult learning, while the second part examines the labor market consequences for individuals who decide to participate in further education. We specifically address the question of how adult learning affects the chances for prestige mobility.

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