Lifelong learning in dangerous times

As COVID-19 closes schools, colleges and universities around the world, it is critical that educational solutions, such as online and distance learning, do not widen the digital divide, argues Christiana Nikolitsa-Winter


The COVID-19 developments have urgent implications for educational institutions worldwide, and ask serious and urgent questions of education ministers, leaders, teachers and learners.

As closure notices go up outside schools and other places of formal and non-formal education, the challenge we face is how to ensure the continuity of learning through a period of unprecedented disruption.

We need to offer learners robust, innovative solutions relatively fast and to create opportunities for online teaching platforms to reach all, rather than only a small group of learners. Continue reading

Breaking through: Increasing women’s participation in ALE

Prioritizing women in ALE funding can be key in overcoming the barriers they face in participating in learning, argues Samah Shalaby


Providing educational opportunities to girls and women is both a prerequisite and a driver of successful development. The fourth Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE 4), published in December 2019, highlighted significant global progress in women‘s participation in adult learning and education, with 59 per cent of responding countries reporting improvement since 2015.

On a regional level, however, GRALE 4 data indicate significant disparities in women’s participation in ALE. In some regions, notably the Arab States and sub-Saharan Africa, a large majority of countries (82 per cent and 80 per cent, respectively) reported an increase in the participation of women in ALE. In other parts of the world, Western Europe and North America (37 per cent), for example, progress was significantly slower, albeit from a generally higher base (see Figure 1). What then are the factors driving women’s increased participation in ALE in some regions and why does it appear to be stalling in others? Continue reading