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Basic skills and participation in lifelong learning among low-educated adults: A comparison between Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden
University College Stord/Haugesund.
University of Jyväskylä.
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Education and Adult Learning. Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences. (Vuxenpedagogik och folkbildning)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1194-9708
University of Turku.
2015 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper explores an important socio-economic issue: participation in lifelong learning among low-educated adults vis-à-vis their basic skills. Due to the lack of reliable data, relatively little is known of what role basic skills play in their participation in learning and working. OECD’s Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) opens historically unique opportunities for research in this area. On one hand, the PIAAC findings show that the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden) stand out in two significant respects: the proportion of adults with low education is small and their rate of participation in lifelong learning is high. However, these rates vary across the Nordic countries. On the other hand, the PIAAC shows that there are significant differences in basic skills in numeracy and literacy proficiency across the Nordic counties, and between low-and higher educated adults. Three research questions will be explored: (i) To what extent are the levels of basic skills in numeracy and literacy similar and/or different between the four Nordic countries among low-educated adults? (ii) To what extent are the skills differences associated with gender, age and employment status, if any, within these countries? (iii) To what extent, if any, are the levels of basic skills related to participation in lifelong learning in the four Nordic countries? The paper is part of the research project Skills development for realizing the workforce competence reserve (2014-2017) (SkillsREAL) financed by the Norwegian Research Council. The data used in the project and the analysis presented here are from the PIAAC. The analysis is limited to low-educated adults aged 40 years and older, in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Overall, only 28% had participated in job-related training and 46% in any type of learning. Preliminary analyses show that on average the basic skills of the low-educated were on level 2 (meanLit=251, meanNum=248) out of 5, with statistically significant differences in both skills types across the countries, and in participation in lifelong learning by levels of literacy and numeracy. Implications of the findings on the labour-market status of the low-educated will be discussed in the Nordic context.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
basic skills, participation, PIAAC
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-114955OAI: diva2:793170
43rd Congress of the Nordic Educational Research Association, Gothenburg, March 4–6, 2015
Skills development for realizing the workforce competence reserve (2014-2017) (SkillsREAL)

Projektet finansierat av det norska Forskningsrådet.

Available from: 2015-03-06 Created: 2015-03-06 Last updated: 2015-03-17

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Andersson, Per
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Education and Adult LearningFaculty of Educational Sciences

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