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Adult education in times of the COVID-19 pandemic: Inequalities, changes, and resilience

For almost half a year now, we have been facing rapid and drastic changes that touch all domains of life: family, work, leisure, education, etc. COVID-19 has shaken all aspects of societies around the world in unforeseeable ways. As noted by many scholars writing and researching in the field of adult education (see, for example, Boeren et al. 2020, Waller et al. 2020), COVID-19 has rendered social inequalities – related, but not limited, to disability, employment status, immigration status, income, language, race, and social-class – more visible and piercing. These inequalities have also deeply affected access and participation to lifelong learning education, which in turn has had consequences for wellbeing and mental health (Watts 2020). Furthermore, as schools, colleges and universities closed their campuses, the ‘vulnerable’ remained left without a physical safe haven, while disadvantaged families had no or limited access to equipment or connectivity to take full advantage of online and digital learning. Adults have suddenly faced unemployment, having to find ways to support themselves and their families, putting earning before learning and (re)training by working longer hours and taking extra jobs to protect household incomes (Pember and Corney 2020).


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Resource author
Nalita James and Virginie Thériault
Type of resource
United Kingdom
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