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Challenges and future plans: Falling participation rates during Covid

Covid’s impact on participation in adult learning and education is still evident. In 2021 a total of 631 600 unique participants took part in study circles and long folk high school courses. This means a drop of 208 000 participants compared to 2020, with a similar drop from 2019. This drop has been recorded mostly in study associations. At the same time, governmental funds have remained stable during the pandemic. For the coming year, the number of participants will be of extra importance.     

Since the beginning of the pandemic, a number of irregularities were discovered in study circle activities. For example, in some cases activities have been reported, although they have not taken place. This, together with political tensions concerning support for our Muslim study association, is creating an uptick in media and political interest. 

Before the summer of 2022, the government launched a special inquiry that will look at the whole structure for providing grants to study associations and folk high schools. The results are expected sometime next year.  

Plans for the year 2023

The Swedish National Council of Adult Education will continue providing insights into ALE through annual reports and statistics. The organisation continues to be responsible for the distribution and control of government grants to study associations and folk high schools.