32 SES 08, Diversity Development in/of Higher Education Organizations
There is a wide range of reasons for choosing non-traditional students studying for education degrees as the research object. These mainly relate to the difficult situation in the internal labour market in the education sector. The main challenges the labour market in schools and education faces can be divided into two groups. The first group of challenges relates to requirements for a qualified workforce. A problem the Czech education system have faced for many years is the high proportion of unqualified staff working in schools, and this even applies to teachers. Statistics deal mainly with teachers qualification. In the Czech Republic, there were 17 thousand teachers in 2014 (out of a total of 130 thousand) who did not meet formal qualification requirements. Roughly two thirds of unqualified teachers decided to top up their qualifications (Jelen, Hradilová, & Maršíková, 2014), some of these in formal tertiary education (but no precise data on their real participation are available). Some positions within the education system, e.g. advisors and social pedagogues, are subject to non-existent or changing qualification requirements. In comming years, new legislation is expected to come into effect which will increase these qualification requirements in certain aspects and create new job positions in schools. Another demand on a qualified workforce is (and is likely to be even more so in future) the result of workforce ageing in education. According to OECD data (2013, 2016) the average age of teachers (other professions are not covered with statistics) in the Czech Republic is 45 years, a figure which is continuing to rise and is one of the highest in Europe.
Thus, the labour market in the education sector needs to be added to with a qualified workforce, and this will remain the case for the foreseeable future. It is here that we find the second group of challenges. Work in the education sector in the Czech Republic is not as attractive as it should be. According to data from SCIO (2016), for example, 22% of education students do not want to become teachers after they complete their degree. Education programmes are facing the same or greater failure rates compared to other disciplines. The proportion of students who do not complete their studies is high, with over half of students enrolled for bachelor’s degrees and almost a third of students undertaking the follow-up master’s degree not completing their studies (Wiesnerová, 2012).
Non-traditional students belong to promising groups to supply the labour market in the education. Non-traditional students (comp. Schuetze and Slowey, 2002) are – generally speaking – adult students in tertiary education who either have not undergone tertiary education during their initial education, or who have returned to tertiary education after a gap period. According to Schuetze (2014), some of their characteristics are so fundamental that he proposes using the more general term ‘life-long learners’, although the ‘non-traditional students’ category is today firmly rooted in educational discourse, which is the reason why we use the term.
We want to add subtler and more nuanced findings based on research into the work and education trajectories of non-traditional students studying for education degree to this rather crude view of adult education based on statistical data of a macrostructural nature. We want to ascertain how paths of learning overlap and intersect with career paths. Current research of these questions in studies into non-traditional students is basically marginal. Moreover, investigations which have been undertaken in the Czech Republic do not specifically look into non-traditional students studying for education degrees, mainly focusing on traditional preparation paths within initial education (e.g. Píšová et al., 2013; Urbánek, 2005).
Research design: Survey (secondary analysis) We decided to investigate a specific population within the project. We selected adults within the non-traditional students category who have undertaken higher education in programmes which qualify them for work within schools, both teaching and non-teaching in nature (e.g. advisors, counsellors, youth workers, social pedagogues, teaching assistants, etc.). A specific target group is those who take part in some form of part-time or distance study programme at university or non-university higher education institutions. Research questions: What is the structure of non-traditional students studying for an educational degree in the Czech Republic, and what are their demographic, social and economic characteristics? How can a typology be determined for these students in accordance with the characteristics indicated and with their work and education trajectory? What reasons do they give for entering formal tertiary education? What challenges may appear during their studies? What barriers may prevent them from success in studies? Tool: own questionnaire. Research sample: At the first stage of the research, we will apply secondary analysis of the data on students of Masaryk University collected as a part of longitudinal research “On the Way through Studies”. The data collection begun during autumn 2017 with first survey which will be followed by another surveys each semester.
Primarily we will be able to describe some of demographic, social and economic characteristics of the sample, their motives for entering the study and challenges they are facing during the study. Further, we expect that non-traditional students studying for education degree are very vulnerable in the sense that there are many barriers of situational, institutional and personality nature that can lead to unsuccessful studies. The results are of high importance for both students and other actors of higher education policy and practice.
Fučík, P., & Slepičková, L. (2014). Studenti, kteří odcházejí: Kvantitativní analýza nedokončených vysokoškolských studií [Leaving Students. Quantitative analysis of university dropouts]. AULA, 22(1), p 24–54. Jelen, V., Hradilová, B., & Maršíková, M. (2014). Analytická zpráva z mimořádného šetření o nekvalifikovaných pedagogických pracovnících – učitelích [Analytical report on the special survay of unqualified teaching staff – teachers]. Prague: Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. OECD (2013). Education at a Glance 2013: OECD Indicators. Paris: OECD Publishing. OECD (2016). Education at a Glance 2016: OECD Indicators. Paris: OECD Publishing. Píšová, M., Hanušová, S., Kostková, K., Janíková, V., Najvar, P., & Tůma, F. (2013). Učitel expert [Expert teacher]. Brno: Masarykova univerzita. Ryška, R., Zelenka, M. (2011). Absolventi vysokých škol: hodnocení vzdělávání, uplatnění na trhu práce, kompetence [HEI graduates: reflection on education, job finding and comperences]. Praha: Univerzita Karlova. Schuetze, H. G. (2014). From Adults to Non-Traditional Students to Lifelong Learners in Higher Education: Changing Contexts and Perspectives. Journal of Adult and Continuing Education, 20(2): 37–55. Schuetze, H. G., & Slowey, M. (2002). Participation and exclusion: A comparative analysis of non-traditional students and lifelong learners in higher education. Higher Education, 44: 309-327. Šeďová, K., Švaříček, R., Sedláčková, J., Čejková, I., Šmardová, A., Novotný, P., & Zounek, J. (2016). Pojetí výuky a profesní identita začínajících vysokoškolských učitelů. Studia Paedagogica, 21(1), 9–34. Urbánek, P. Vybrané problémy učitelské profese [Some Problems of Teacher Profession]. Liberec: Technická univerzita v Liberci. 2005. Wiesnerová, E. (2012). Univerzita zjišťuje důvody vysokého počtu neúspěšných studií. Muni.cz, 3, 4. Zelinková, A. (2014). Motivace studentů pedagogických fakult k volbě učitelské profese [The motivation of students of faculties of education to choose the teaching profession]. AULA, 22(2), 3–24.
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