Non-Formal Education as a Resource of Social Inclusion: Intergenerational Approach


This article contributes to a better understanding of theoretical models and empirical evidence revealing the impact of social inclusion of non-formal education on professional and personal development in the context of five generations. Based on the typology of peculiar generations in the non-formal education market, including their interest and motivation, we have identified the differences between the benefits and the barriers to social inclusion in order to overcome social inequalities and digital inequities. Due to the fact that all generations use non-formal education, but its contribution to social inclusion differs from generation to generation, our research questions are as following: What is the impact of non-formal education on social inclusion? How do non-formal education practices differ across generations? The article critically engages with non-formal education as a resource of social inclusion highlighting the low level of inclusion of five generations. To show the specificity of five generations’ social inclusion we develop a data collection method including a questionnaire survey of the population based on the typology of generations. As such, the research shows that today inclusion through non-formal education, mobility in the labor market due to retraining, as well as inclusion in new social ties, study groups, adaptation to new challenges do have generational characteristics.

Author Biographies

Marina N. Kicherova, University of Tyumen, Tyumen, Russia

Marina N. Kicherova, Cand. Sci. (Sociology), Associate Professor, Department of General and Economic Sociology, University of Tyumen. Marina N. Kicherova has been conducting research in various aspects of sociological studies for over 30 years. Her interests revolve around understanding the co-action of social and digital inclusion, as well as studying sociology of education, non-formal education, human capital, skills and competencies, continuing education for adults, and lifelong learning.

Galina Z. Efimova, University of Tyumen, Tyumen, Russia

Galina Z. Efimova, Cand. Sci. (Sociology), Prof., Department of General and Economic Sociology, University of Tyumen. She has been involved in several research projects on sociology of education, sociology of science, sociology of higher education, student youth, scientific and pedagogical employees, scientists. During her career, Galina Z. Efimova has published more than 100 research articles. Among her most recent foci of interest are competitiveness, higher education, students’ youth, and teachers’ competencies.

Svetlana M. Gertsen, University of Tyumen, Tyumen, Russia

Svetlana M. Gertsen, Cand. Sci. (Sociology), Associate Professor, Department of Foreign Languages and Communication Technologies, University of Tyumen. Along with socio-economic research, she develops approaches to teaching academic English for master students both in publishing methodological and scientific materials. Currently, she has been selected as a scholarship recipient for TESOL International one-year global membership and has been included in RELO community working with English teachers throughout the world in order to enhance mutual understanding between peoples and nations.


  • Asmar, A., van Audenhove, L., & Mariën, I. (2020). Social support for digital inclusion: Towards a typology of social support patterns. Social Inclusion, 8(2), 138–150.

  • Astoiants, M. S., & Rossikhina, I. G. (2009). Social inclusion: Attempt of conceptualization and operationalization. News of Southern Federal University. Pedagogical Sciences, 12, 51–58.

  • Au, A. (2020). Reconceptualizing the generation in a digital(izing) modernity: Digital media, social networking sites, and the flattening of generations. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 50(2), 163–183.

  • Benkova, K., & Mareva, V. (2019). Social inclusion based on non-formal education. In T. V. Petkova & V. S. Chukov (Eds.), 3rd International e-Conference on Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences: Conference proceedings, July 2019 (pp. 211–218). Center for Open Access in Science.

  • Busse, R., Lischewski, J., & Seeber, S. (2019). Do non-formal and informal adult education affect citizens’ political participation during adulthood? The Journal of Social Science Education, 18(4), 4–24.

  • Caparros-Ruiz, A. (2019). Doctorate holders’ careers in Spain: Does international mobility matter? European Journal of Education, 54(1), 117–136.

  • Commission of the European Communities. (2000). A memorandum on lifelong learning.

  • Coombs, Ph., & Ahmed, R. (1974). Attacking rural poverty: How non-formal education can help (A World Bank research publication No. 10091). The Johns Hopkins University Press.

  • Dewey, J. (1897). My pedagogic creed. School Journal, 54, 77–80.

  • Dimock, M. (2019, January 17). Defining generations: Where Millennials end and Generation Z begins. Pew Research Center.

  • Eisenstadt, S. N. (1956). From generation to generation: Age groups and social structure. Routledge.

  • European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training, European Commission, & ICF International. (2019). European inventory on validation of nonformal and informal learning 2018 update: Synthesis report.

  • Feuer, L. S. (1969). The conflict of generations: The character and significance of student movements. Basic Books.

  • Gorshkov, M. K., & Kliucharev, G. A. (2017). Nepreryvnoe obrazovanie v sovremennom kontekste [Continuous education in the modern context]. URAIT.

  • Habermas, J. (1984–1987). The theory of communicative action (Vols. 1–2, T. McCarthy, Trans.). Beacon Press. (Originally published in German 1981)

  • Horvath, K., & Leemann, R. J. (2021). The politics of inequalities in education: Exploring epistemic orders and educational arrangements of durable disadvantaging [Editorial]. Social Inclusion, 9(3), 296–300.

  • Jencks, C., & Reisman, D. (1968). The academic revolution. Doubleday.

  • Karashchuk, O. S., Mayorova, E. A., Nikishin, A. F., & Kornilova, O. V. (2020). The method for determining time-generation range. SAGE Open, 10(4).

  • Knowles, M. S. (1950). Informal adult education: A guide for administrators, leaders, and teachers. Association Press.

  • Korshunov, I. A., Gaponova, O. S., & Peshkova, V. M. (2019). Vek zhivi—vek uchis’: Nepreryvnoe obrazovanie v Rossii [Live and learn: Continuous education in Russia]. HSE Publishing House.

  • Lambert, T. A. (1972). Generations and change: Toward a theory of generations as a force in historical process. Youth & Society, 4(1), 21–45.

  • Maliszewski, T. (2003). Development of folk high school idea in Denmark, Germany, Poland and Sweden—Recapitulation. In M. Byczkowski, T. Maliszewski & E. Przybylska (Eds.), Folk high school—School for life (pp. 121–126). Kashubian Folk High School.

  • Mannheim, K. (1952). The problem of generations. In P. Kecskemeti (Ed.), Essays on the sociology of knowledge (pp. 276–322). Routledge.

  • Mezirow, J. (1995). Transformation theory of adult learning. In M. Welton (Ed.), In defense of the lifeworld: Critical perspectives on adult learning (pp. 37–90). SUNY Press.

  • Mezirow, J. (2000). Learning as transformation: Critical perspectives on a theory in progress. Jossey-Bass.

  • Ortega y Gasset, J. (1960). What is philosophy? (M. Adams, Trans.). W. W. Norton.

  • Parry, E., & Urwin, P. (2011). Generational differences in work values: A review of theory and evidence. International Journal of Management Reviews, 13(1), 79–96.

  • Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants: Part 1. On the Horizon, 9(5), 1–6.

  • Radaev, V. V. (2018). Millennials compared to previous generations: An empirical analysis. Sotsiologicheskie Issledovaniya, 3, 15–33.

  • Reisdorf, B., & Rhinesmith, C. (2020). Digital inclusion as a core component of social inclusion [Editorial]. Social Inclusion, 8(2), 132–137.

  • Rogers, A. (2019). Second-generation non-formal education and the sustainable development goals: Operationalising the SDGs through community learning centers. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 38(5), 515–526.

  • Ruhose, J., Thomsen, S., & Weilage, I. (2019). The benefits of adult learning: Work-related training, social capital, and earnings. Economics of Education Review, 72, 166–186.

  • Souto-Otero, M. (2021). Validation of non-formal and informal learning in formal education: Covert and overt [Editorial]. European Journal of Education, 56(3), 365–379.

  • Strauss, W., & Howe, N. (1997). The fourth turning: An American prophecy. Broadway Books.

  • Ting, H., Lim, T.-Y., de Run, E. C., Koh, H., & Sahdan, M. (2018). Are we Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y? A qualitative inquiry into generation cohorts in Malaysia. Kasetsart Journal of Social Sciences, 39(1), 109–115.

  • UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning. (2019). Fourth global report on adult learning and education: leave no one behind: participation, equity and inclusion.

  • Villalba-García, E. (2021). Validation of non-formal and informal learning: A next stage of development in Europe? European Journal of Education, 56(3), 345–350.

  • Zhang, T., & Acs, Z. (2019). Does generation matter to entrepreneurship? Four generations of entrepreneurs. Southern Economic Journal, 86(2), 459–477.

How to Cite
Kicherova, M., Efimova, G., & Gertsen, S. (2022). Non-Formal Education as a Resource of Social Inclusion: Intergenerational Approach. Changing Societies & Personalities, 6(4), 823–840. doi:10.15826/csp.2022.6.4.205