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Community and Individual Benefits of Adult Education Program

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In this paper there is a discussion that aims to seek the relationship between adult education and regional economic development. Labourers with exceptional educational experience will help the local economy to develop well, and bring community benefits, which can be quantified. 

Community Benefits

In the article “Social and economic impacts of adult community education (ACE)”, which is published by the Australian National Training Authority. Agreed that ACE would bring significant benefits to both community development and individual life.

About half of educational institution providers are located in rural and regional Australia. Their role is intensified when they are the only education institution provider in that region, though most of the time, it is. People who live in that region could learn new vocational skills which help their living area to be more competitive compared with the rest of nation. From the perspective of the whole community, education institution providers are regarded as a business. Teacher income earned from employment, is as follows: “average staff per-student expenditure is $805, or $400 million in total”; or while student tuition and ancillary expenditure for their academic study “averag[es] $48 per student in the student survey, or $24 million in total”. The employment will bring national taxation revenue which will benefit governmental investment in other realm such as national defence. Teacher’s income, student tuition and national taxation comprise community benefits. In other words, the income is earned for the whole community.

Community costs comprise government subsidies, student tuition fees paid. From the article, Birch et al. assumed three scenarios, and this paper will use ‘the most likely scenario’ to analyze community benefits. Under the most likely scenario, it is shown that the total community benefit is $1586 million less total community costs of $758 million, which equals a net community benefit of $828 million.

Net community benefits demonstrated that after vocational training participants have rising base income and for the person who never worked before has better employment. Those students who finish vocational education training (VET), some of them are willing to go on to further study, for example, adult community education. The possible reasons are for personal enrichment and life-long study habits. Therefore, additional tuition expenditures will be paid to educational institutions; part of student tuition will become the education provider’s net income and national taxation revenue. With the increasing widespread coverage of ACE and VET, it indirectly reduced the subsistence allowance provided by governments for people with unemployment. Since educational experience will help people to build cognitive ability and required occupational skills in workplaces, for those people who have ACE and VET experience, they could translate their knowledge into quantifiable employment and be less likely to rely on subsistence allowance.

Individual Benefits

Substantial individual benefits are highlighted, which cannot be quantified by monetary value or mathematical figures as community benefits. Individual benefits are indirectly correlated with economic development. Individual benefits seem to help people prepare for their formal working and reduce, even eliminate, some unnecessary costs. Several special and disadvantaged groups of people benefit from ACE. Many of them otherwise may have less opportunity to participate in learning or have a negative learning experience. Those particular groups include migrant, indigenous people, people with disabilities, people who have experienced long-term unemployment and the elderly.

Individual Benefits for Long-term Unemployment or New People to the Job

For a new person to the job or people who have experienced long-term unemployment, ACE could be the first step to start or restart their career. Advanced learning experience (VET) helps people who already have a job develop employment prospects, such as future promotion development.

Individual Benefits for Migrants

For people who are from non-English speaking backgrounds, such as international students or indigenous people who only speak their aboriginal language, improvement of English communication skills enables those people to better socially interact with people who speak English, finding a job to support their life. When migrants adapt to the social environment, a community can efficiently absorbs many diversified talents. Migrants will bring more innovative ideas to the whole community (e.g by bringing new businesses to community). The accumulation of creative ideas from foreign human capital creates a “destruction process”. Schumpeter predicts innovation will constantly disturb the economic system in equilibrium. There are many empirical works that have demonstrated a strong correlation between the level of innovation and economic performance. Lichtenberg claimed international differences in productivity could be regarded as intangible assets-investments in research and development, which play an active role in “intellectual capital”. Engelbrecht states that human capital not only critically links to the production process but also served as a significant predictor of economic growth. Assembling diversified roles in human capital will contribute both domestic innovation and to the absorption of international knowledge spillover.

Therefore, the accumulation of individual benefits comprise community benefits. The purpose of ACE is to satisfy an individual’s lifelong learning needs. When the increasing population needs of learning have been fulfilled, the national economy will inevitably be affected.

Besides, not only migrants will receive benefits from ACE but also people with disabilities and elderly group. To those marginalized groups, the opportunity to participate in the group activities, and have social interactions with other people within the broader community, together with the accompanying sense of happiness and satisfaction, might be difficult to acquire. Having social interactions with other people (people with different gender, culture, and ethnic background) stabilizes the mental conditions of people with disabilities and people who have experienced long-term unemployment. Adult and community courses will help those marginalized groups of people stay mentally healthy.

Individual Benefits for People With Disabilities and Elderly

For people with disabilities, they could acquire both social and job skills through ACE. It will benefit the community by adding a new source of the skilled workforce into society.

For older people, they may have grown up without the internet and computers. They have less opportunity to learn how to access the devices with modern information and communication technology—-the so-called ‘digital divide’. Much of knowledge acquisition require users who are equipped with fundamental computer skills. Older people are empowered learn to use those modern devices through adult and community courses. Studying through ACE is an efficient instrument to bridge the divide. Having said that, it will reduce government costs to subsidize those marginalized groups. Brown and Guttmann predicted in a study of “Ageing and Labour Supply in Advanced Economies” in 2017 that all developed countries (except China), the median age of the population in 2045 will rise compared with 1985. The implication is that older people have lower participation in social production as they retire. A shortage of young workers cannot support social services and will result in a gap in social production. Some older students go back to the workplace after finishing community and adult education courses, which is a good signal for some countries (usually developed countries) that are facing the threat of labor shortage due to population aging. The aging effect is putting pressure on economic growth since the ability to accumulate capital is gradually being undermined. Older people will pay tax if they remain or go back to the workplace. It will support national tax revenue and offset aging effects to a certain extent.


Different groups of people will benefit from adult education, including people with disabilities, people who have experienced long-time unemployment, migrants, and elderly groups. However, existing benefits vary in different regions. Highly developed regions will currently significantly benefit from adult education rather than less developed regions. Highly developed regions have a faster speed of translating knowledge to innovation and emerging businesses to stimulate economic growth, resulting from a more talented workforce.

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Community and Individual Benefits of Adult Education Program. (2022, July 07). GradesFixer. Retrieved August 16, 2022, from
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