The challenges facing education demand responses that are genuinely transformative. But how should we understand transformative education and what can we do to promote it, asks Katarina Popović.
caused by the COVID-19 pandemic inspired a wave of new and revived concepts, ideas
and practices in education. The need for a new approach had been highlighted in
response to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and our likely
failure to deliver against Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 on
education by 2030. Continuing educational disparities and exacerbated gaps and
setbacks underscore the urgent need to promote adult education and lifelong
learning for all.
One of the
ideas born out of this sense of urgency is ‘transformative education’, which
UNESCO defines as teaching
and learning ‘geared to motivate and empower happy and healthy learners to take
informed decisions and actions at the individual, community and global levels’.
The concept dominates discussions about post-crises education and is perceived
as a panacea for many of today’s problems in education.
Espoo, in Finland, was one of 12 cities to receive the UNESCO Learning City Award at the second International Conference on Learning Cities in Mexico in 2015. Annica Isacsson and Annika Forstén explain what makes Espoo special
In 2015, UNESCO recognized the Finnish city
of Espoo for the outstanding progress it had made
in implementing the ‘Key Features of Learning Cities’ since the first International
Conference on Learning Cities in 2013. The Key Features describe a learning city as one that
effectively mobilizes, creates and reinforces individual empowerment and social
cohesion, and economic and cultural prosperity, in addition to sustainable
development. In fact, the United Nations has invited Espoo to become a pioneer of sustainable development by attaining the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals
(SDGs) by 2025, five years ahead of schedule.
Espoo aims to ensure that all citizens can
fulfill their potential, succeed in the uncertain world of the future and
participate in the development of their local communities. Learning, creativity
and innovation are fostered from an early age. For example, in 2019, Tapiola
Sinfonietta, the city’s orchestra, invited all expectant parents in the city to
its regular concerts so that their children could experience the positive
influence of music while still in the womb. And Espoo’s systematic approach to
collaboration between artists and schools has been extended to early education
centres, giving all children the opportunity to interact with professional
artists and foster creative minds. Continue reading →
As preparations begin for the seventh International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VII) in 2022, Daniel Baril, Chair of UIL’s Governing Board, argues that we need a new generation of adult learning and education policies
of adult learning and education, we live in paradoxical times. On the one hand,
learning needs are diversifying and adult education resources cover a wide
spectrum of learning possibilities, formal, non-formal or informal. On the
other, adult education policies strive to mobilize all available educational resources
to answer different learning needs. That is why I think that a new generation
of adult learning and education policies is needed, policies that would aim to draw
on all educational resources to answer a wide array of learning needs.
Global citizenship education should be central to efforts to encourage people to take ownership of the Sustainable Development Goals and make the next 10 years a true ‘Decade of Action’, writes Christiana Nikolitsa-Winter
The start of the last decade of the 2030 Agenda
for Sustainable Development provides an important moment for reflection on what
we have achieved to date and how far we have still to go in achieving the 17
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Secretary-General of the United
Nations, António Guterres, took the opportunity to call for a ‘Decade of
Action’ to accelerate sustainable solutions to ‘the world’s biggest challenges,
ranging from poverty and gender to climate change, inequality and closing the
finance gap’. He emphasized action on three levels: global, securing
greater leadership and resources for the SDGs; local, embedding
solutions in policies, budgets and regulatory frameworks; and people, in
order to generate an ‘unstoppable movement’ for transformation.
Progress has been made on many fronts since the
SDGs were launched in 2015, with governments integrating them into national
strategies, and civil society and young people, in particular, increasingly
involved in lobbying for change. The opportunities are enormous, but there remain
some substantial challenges. Among these are social and economic exclusion, poverty,
violence, radical extremism, cybercrime and fake news, pollution and climate
change. Responding to these challenges demands individuals who are tolerant and
able to live cooperatively with others, who judge critically, who are ethical
users and producers of digital information, and who are actively involved in
finding solutions to these problems, both locally and globally. This is why the
importance of global citizenship education (GCED) is increasingly recognized.
It represents a means for individuals to learn to be active in a culture of
human rights, justice, democratic values and sustainability. Continue reading →
Adult learning and education has the potential to address a wide range of agendas, but too often its effects are limited by a narrow understanding of its purpose, argues EAEA President Uwe Gartenschlaeger
An annual survey conducted by the European
Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) among its members provides
evidence that European ALE has the potential to deliver services and formats to
tackle the key challenges the continent and its people face. However, enabling
frameworks are lagging behind and are still caught in a narrow understanding of
ALE as a tool for vocational up-skilling. In contrast, EAEA members demand more
attention (and funding) for holistic ALE provision, including, especially,
civic education, education for sustainable development and digital literacy.
Besides, ALE is perceived as a vaccination against xenophobia and a powerful
instrument to enable citizens to act and transform their communities and
the EAEA has
been collecting outlooks from across its membership in 43 European countries on
the adult education sector: recent developments, strengths, challenges and how
national policy reflects international policies and initiatives relating to
adult learning at present. These country reports present a unique civil-society
perspective from all over the continent. Continue reading →
As he begins his first term as Chair of the UIL Governing Board, Daniel Baril reflects on the implications of technological transformation for adult learning and education
In my first
contribution to the UIL blog, and as I reflect on global issues for adult learning
and education as new Chair of the UIL Governing Board, I would like to share a
high-level analysis of what I consider a major and new educational challenge.
In my view, we are entering a new learning frontier, principally characterized
by the fact that human and machine are learning side by side and together. This
‘human-machine learning interface’, as it was described in a recent UNEVOC document, is characteristic of the so-called
fourth industrial revolution that is dawning upon us.
context, the education landscape is being rapidly and deeply transformed before
our eyes by technological forces, and especially by the computational and
digital dimensions of those forces. Among other things, new technological means
are widely distributed within the population and social arrangements are being transformed
by them. In our world now, any two learners are just a click of the mouse away.
The questions of the place and pace of artificial intelligence (AI) in
education are symptomatic of those changes pressuring our educational world. In
a recent forum on this topic, organized by UNESCO in June 2019, parameters for
the policy debate were proposed. They are testimonies to the nature and the magnitude
of the changes taking place. In particular, AI has the potential for ‘reshaping the core foundations of
education, teaching and learning’. Unlocking that potential will move the
frontier of our learning world. Continue reading →
The SDG Global Festival of Action shows exactly why lifelong learning matters to the SDG agenda, argues Paul Stanistreet
As young people around the world raise their voices to call for action on
climate change, the Sustainable
Development Goal (SDG) Global Festival of Action seems especially timely.
This important annual event, which is taking
place in Bonn, Germany, is intended to bring together and galvanize campaigners
on the SDGs to redouble their efforts, forge new partnerships and, above all,
take action to support the global movement for sustainability. The festival
encourages leaders from governments, local authorities, international
organizations and civil society to work closely with activists, youth
advocates, the creative industry and the private sector in scaling up their
efforts to make a difference to this critical agenda.
The event sends an important message: unless
people are prepared to take action themselves – to campaign, lobby, make changes
in their own lives and in their communities, and hold their governments to
account for the promises they have made, and do so in a coordinated, coherent
way – we will not achieve the SDGs. Continue reading →
Malak Zaalouk, Chair of UIL’s Governing Board, explains why lifelong learning is at the heart of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – and why it should be central to the plans and policies of nation states
Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 puts lifelong learning at the heart of the global education policy-making agenda by enjoining Member States to ‘ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’.
This is already important recognition. However, we have yet to fully realize the potential contribution of lifelong learning either to SDG 4 or to the wider 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This demands the development of inter-sectoral solutions to challenges such as social exclusion, poverty, climate change, mass migration and technological transformation.. Continue reading →
UIL Director David Atchoarena on the challenge of raising the profile of lifelong learning and realizing its potential contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Earlier this month I attended the Global Education Meeting in Brussels, Belgium, to join with colleagues from across the world in reviewing progress towards the commitments on education made in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The Brussels Declaration, the outcome document of the meeting, acknowledged the ‘fundamental role’ of lifelong learning as a key driver of sustainable development and reinforced the commitment of Member States to the eradication of illiteracy through formal and non-formal education and training. Continue reading →