Adult education: A condition for hope

The Inclusive Lifelong Learning Conference gave critical impetus to the implementation of the Marrakech Framework for Action and reinforced CONFINTEA VII’s view of adult learning and education as a condition for a hopeful future, writes Daniel Baril, Chair of the Governing Board of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning

© PMO Kartu Prakerja. Daniel Baril addressing the Inclusive Lifelong Learning Conference

In my closing remarks to last week’s Inclusive Lifelong Learning Conference in Bali, I tried to capture the spirit of the work undertaken by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) and its partners in shaping the conference and its outcome document, the Bali Manifesto. Reflecting on the moral and policy challenges of inclusive learning and education throughout life I recalled that adult learning and education has always been about hope: hope for each individual to be able to complete basic education successfully and, most importantly, to learn to read and write; hope for each adult to be able to learn what each person must know in order to fulfill their responsibilities, grow as a human being and engage in society and the world of work. In a sense, adult learning and education is a condition for hope.

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What can higher education institutions do for lifelong learning?

Higher education institutions have a significant potential role in promoting lifelong learning. New research from the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning and Shanghai Open University shows both the advances being made and the limitations and challenges that continue to prevent this potential being fully realized, writes Edith Hammer

© UNESCO

Part-time study, online learning, micro-credentials, flexible pathways, community outreach – these are just a few ways to support lifelong learning in the higher education sector. While traditionally associated with formal education, universities and other higher education institutions (HEIs) have become paramount in promoting lifelong learning for diverse groups of learners. As traditional hubs of knowledge, they can embrace lifelong learning as a catalyst for transformation, supporting reskilling and upskilling, social equity and sustainable development. Within this context, two questions arise: What is the role of HEIs in promoting lifelong learning in society? And what does it take for HEIs to become lifelong learning institutions?

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Creating upskilling opportunities for 144 million Indonesians

Ahead of the Inclusive Lifelong Learning Conference, hosted by the Government of Indonesia and the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning from 3 to 6 July 2023 in Bali, Indonesia, Denni P Purbasari, Executive Director at Kartu Prakerja, Indonesia’s lifelong learning programme, explains how training and upskilling initiatives are changing lives in Indonesia.

© Prakerja

Sianny, a 56-year-old administration worker, found herself struggling financially after the COVID-19 pandemic caused her office to shut down, leaving her jobless. Despite the challenges she faced, Sianny was able to support herself by utilizing her cooking skills, gained by attending free local government training programmes. Ultimately, she was able to reinvent herself as a micro-entrepreneur, selling food to local farming groups.

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‘Read Your Way Out’: How reading can reduce a prison sentence

As we mark World Book Day, Lisa Krolak shares her experiences of initiatives that help inmates to reduce their prison sentence by reading books and using library services.

© BJMP. ‘People deprived of liberty’ (PDLs) using their library in Manila City Jail, Philippines

Creating reading policies for prisoners to earn time allowances through reading

All over the world, the prison population includes a high proportion of people from disadvantaged backgrounds and communities, often with a lower educational level than the rest of their community and struggling with reading and writing. Prisoners have a right to access education, including the use of prison library services, but this is frequently overlooked or disregarded. Moreover, it can be assumed that many prisoners were not active readers before entering prison. So how can we offer an attractive incentive to prisoners to start reading, despite their literacy struggles and the attitudes towards reading and education that they might have?

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Behind the scenes: How UIL’s female staff promote its mandate

To mark this year’s International Women’s Day, UIL’s gender focal point, Samah Shalaby, highlights how her colleagues progress gender equality in their work

© Olga Kuzmina/Shutterstock.com

The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), located in Hamburg, Germany, is one of UNESCO’s eight education institutes. As its name suggests, UIL’s area of specialization is lifelong learning. Through its capacity-building activities, knowledge sharing and dissemination of data, the Institute provides support to UNESCO Member States in the field of lifelong learning with a focus on learning ecosystems, skills for life and work, and inclusive learning. UIL operates at regional, national and local levels to facilitate learning across sectors. Through its partnerships, it works towards helping the global community achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 on inclusive, equitable and quality education for all.

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The Faure report – 50 years on

The Faure report is 50 years old. While it has its faults, it remains a powerful statement of UNESCO’s humanistic vision of education and remains remarkably relevant, writes Maren Elfert, who, with Alexandra Draxler, has guest-edited a special issue of the International Review of Education on the report’s legacy

Our recently published special issue of the International Review of Education marks the fiftieth  anniversary of the 1972 UNESCO report Learning to be: The world of education today and tomorrow, better known as the Faure report.

Although it has its shortcomings, the Faure report contains ideas that are remarkably relevant today, and there are good reasons to revisit it at this time. Just as we find ourselves in an environment characterized by a sense of crisis, the Faure report was written shortly after student uprisings in 1968 in France and as a number of other countries began to acknowledge the deep divide between traditional society and the demands of the younger generation. It grappled with themes similar to those we struggle with today and reflected the existential fears of the economic and environmental limits to growth. It was inspired by non-conformist thinkers such as Paulo Freire and Ivan Illich, who pointed to the need to breathe new life into outdated elitist and conformist conceptions of education systems.

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Learning to be and to become

In 2022, UIL marked the 70th anniversary of its foundation. Looking ahead to 2023, the Institute’s Governing Board chair, Daniel Baril, reflects on its founding mandate and its continuing relevance to the challenges the world faces today

© Sasin Tipchai/Shutterstock.com

UIL’s 70th anniversary was an opportunity to celebrate not only the foundation of UIL as an organization, but also of an educational project valuing the right to education for all and the lifelong learning perspective.

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Seize the moment: Financing adult learning and education

With the UN’s Transforming Education Summit just days away, Daniel Baril, chair of the committee responsible for the final declaration of CONFINTEA VII, reflects on its important commitment to better financing of adult education and why Member States need to start delivering on it

© UNESCO/Iason Athanasiadis

At the closing session of the seventh UNESCO International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VII) in June, representatives of UNESCO Member States adopted by acclamation the Marrakech Framework for Action (MFA). Commitments expressed through the MFA will guide the international debate on adult education for the next 12 years and will be among the measures by which national policies will be evaluated. Implementing the MFA is now the task awaiting national governments.

Before its final adoption, the MFA had been submitted to an extensive consultative process. First, the CONFINTEA VII consultative committee made recommendations on a preliminary draft. Second, an online public consultation gave all stakeholders the opportunity to comment on a modified draft. Finally, before being tabled at the conference, Member States had the chance to comment on a final draft. This consultative process validates the MFA as the legitimate expression of an international consensus on priorities in adult learning and education (ALE). Continue reading

The right to lifelong learning: Making it a reality for all in Europe

Lifelong learning can empower individuals, support sustainable economic growth and contribute to just societies. That is why the EU is focused on making it a right for all, writes Maya Ivanova of the European Commission

The right to lifelong learning is an investment in our future – an investment that pays dividends many times over by helping people to maintain and acquire skills, to participate fully in society and to manage successfully transitions in the labour market. Today, European Union (EU) countries are firmly committed to making the right to lifelong learning a reality for all. The road ahead hides hurdles, but also opportunities. Having embarked on a journey towards universal access to lifelong learning, the EU can offer insights valuable beyond the continent.  

The world of work is undergoing a fundamental shift. Although it is not easy to picture exactly the jobs of the future, understanding the driving forces that shape our tomorrow can help us prepare for the challenges ahead. Continue reading

Lifelong learning at the crossroads: Migration, diversity and inclusion

Transnational migration is changing the demography of receiving societies, driving the issue to the top of the policy agenda. Yet, despite their profound vulnerability and the economic potential they represent, migrants are still routinely denied access to the lifelong learning opportunities they need, writes Shibao Guo of University of Calgary

© Janossy Gergely

As globalization intensifies, migration has been adopted as a strategy by many to compete for the most talented, skillful and resourceful in order to help build a knowledge-based economy, ameliorate labour shortages, and mitigate the effects of an ageing population. As such, migration has risen to the top of the political agenda of many countries that are involved in this process as a source, transit or destination country, or all three simultaneously. Unlike earlier forms of migration which tend to be unidirectional, the contemporary mobility of migrants is conceptualised as multiple and circular occurring across transnational spaces.

Because of its transient nature, it is almost impossible to know exactly how many transnational migrants there are around the world. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs estimated that, in 2020, about 281 million people, or 4 per cent of the world’s population, lived outside their countries of birth, up from 173 million in 2000. In addition, the world’s refugees and asylum seekers have doubled in number from 17 to 34 million over the past two decades. Continue reading