22 of 108 respondents reported childcare as an expense. Of these 22 individuals, 14
reported weekly costs above $80, 6 estimated their costs were less than $40 per week and
2 stated their costs were between $41 and $80 weekly. From these results, a conservative
estimate can be calculated that childcare is costing these 22 individuals $1 360 weekly.
100% of the adult education students who participated in this survey and reported
spending money on childcare are receiving financial support from some source. This is
hugely significant if we consider the number of adults who have children and would
require childcare if parents were to return to school. Is the cost of childcare such a large
expense that, without financial support or compensation, it becomes a barrier to
enrollment for potential learners? This study indicates that it is.
3. Social Costs and Supports
Family life, personal time & social life
Three survey questions were concerned with the amount and quality of time spent by
adult education students when they are not at school or work. There were three groups of
similar thought that emerged from participants’ responses.
- Almost one-third of the respondents did not report any change in their
time spent away from school. Most likely this group is comprised of
individuals who were busy even before they enrolled in Adult
Education and individuals who do not spend time on schoolwork
outside the classroom.
- Another voice that was heard is seemingly overwhelmed by the addition
of school-related responsibilities to their existing routines. These
individuals reported being stressed, tired, and overworked with little or
no time for a social life. For example, 38% of individuals surveyed
noted a decrease in both the quality and quantity of personal time.
- The third and largest group echoed that they were experiencing more
stress related to taking on new responsibilities. However, instead of
feeling overwhelmed, these individuals seemed to welcome the
challenge. Adult educators often hear comments of how a new purpose
and more productivity has a positive effect on their self-esteem and
witness that learners who take this approach often form strong social
relationships in class.