Reasons for Non-Participation: What the Studies Show
Based on a variety of external research sources Community Literacy of
Ontario’s “Strategies of Our Own: Learner Recruitment and
Retention Toolkit” identified the following common barriers to participation.
- Learners face a wide variety of socio-economic barriers
on a daily basis such as family and work-related responsibilities,
constraints, daycare, transportation and health barriers.
- Learners face personal barriers such as their values, perceptions,
attitudes and past experiences.
- Other barriers include low self-confidence, a previous negative
school experience and perceived risks associated
with attending a program.
- Learners may also face barriers such as waiting lists, unhelpful
contacts, lack of access to existing agencies, poor
agency environments and lack of information about literacy
- Some may lack opportunities to move ahead. Their literacy
skills may be quite adequate for their current circumstances,
but not for a
higher level job. As well, if jobs are not readily
available as is often the case in rural areas or areas
of high unemployment, the motivation
to train may be reduced.
- And sometimes adults just do not see the need for literacy
training. Their lives may be full and busy and they
have been getting along just fine in life as things
In the live, online training workshops delivered by Community Literacy
of Ontario to 50 literacy practitioners in May 2006, we asked practitioners
about barriers to participation. Practitioners responded anonymously
to the following question: Of the choices listed, what do you think
is the most significant barrier that prevents people with low literacy
skills from participating in literacy programming in your community?
Here are their responses:
- Lack of awareness about literacy programs and what they offer (31%)
- They don’t perceive the need (22%)
- Childcare/transportation problems (22%)
- Conflict with employment (16%)
- Fear or lack of confidence (9%)