What Are Some Barriers to Adult Education?

Barriers to adult education include internal factors, such as attitudes and beliefs, and external factors, such as cost and time. Adult learners may find that situational issues including work and family responsibilities leave them with little money and no extra time to pursue education. They may also believe that they do not have the disposition, including study skills and academic ability, to be successful in school.

Some examples of situational barriers to adult learning include lack of transportation, scheduling challenges with work, the high cost of education and problems with childcare. Because of these factors, adult learners may be dependent on other people such as employers, spouses, friends and children to support their educational efforts.

Dispositional barriers to adult education include low motivation, poor self-esteem and a fear of failure. These barriers are challenging because they originate from established behavioral patterns.

Institutional barriers to pursuing adult education can include lack of access to offices and support systems at school. Examples of this are financial aid and student tutoring offices without evening hours to accommodate adult students. Additional educational barriers include not having the educational background to be able to learn effectively. This may happen when students are not adequately prepared with foundational reading and writing skills.