22 September 2020
Dear readers,

Literacy programmes have suffered severely during the COVID-19 pandemic, yet adult literacy and education have been absent in many initial education responses. Even before the crisis, 773 million non-literate adults and young people were failing to acquire basic reading and numeracy skills. On International Literacy Day, we were reminded how important it is that governments now adopt a holistic approach, looking at the education sector from a lifelong learning perspective.

In this issue of the UIL Bulletin, you will learn more about literacy practices during the pandemic, the latest literacy research, activities of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities, our new report about the future of lifelong learning, and much more.

Wishing you good reading!

David Atchoarena

IN FOCUS: International Literacy Day
On International Literacy Day (ILD), 8 September 2020, experts from around the globe contributed to a UNESCO webinar on how literacy teaching and learning can be realized in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. The pandemic revealed the unpreparedness of education systems, infrastructure, educators and learners for distance learning, and the fragility of adult literacy programmes. It hit hardest those who were already marginalized and showed, at the same time, the great importance of adult literacy educators for meaningful literacy teaching and learning . Learn more about the webinar outcomes
Read our new special double issue of the International Review of Education on literacy and numeracy. It brings together leading scholars, engaging with numeracy and mathematical literacy, New Literacy Studies, adult education, and lifelong learning in the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Learn more
Watch the International Literacy Day video messages from the Deputy Education Minister of Afghanistan, as well as the UNESCO learning cities of Medellín, Colombia, and Villa María, Argentina. Watch video messages
Out now: The Harmonized Competency Framework resulting from the Action Research: Measuring Literacy Programme Participants’ Learning Outcomes (RAMAA) programme. Learn more
Discover publications and resources that we have put together for International Literacy Dayfrom issue notes providing advice on how to keep literacy programmes running during COVID-19, to databases with literacy practices, policy briefs, bibliographies on methods for teaching literacy, and information about the literacy prizes 2020 winners . Learn more
COVID-19 has disrupted education worldwide in an unprecedented way. Millions of students have not been able to continue learning. As we look to rebuild, we must ensure that the global literacy challenge is finally and decisively met, writes Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, UNESCO Special Envoy on Literacy for Development, on the UIL blog.
Learn more
Lifelong learning policies

Just published: Our 'Embracing a culture of lifelong learning' report, setting out a future-focused vision of education and demanding a major shift towards a culture of lifelong learning by 2050. UIL’s contribution to the UNESCO International Commission on the Futures of Education argues that creating a global culture of lifelong learning will be key to addressing the challenges faced by humanity today. Learn more
Peter Biesenbach, Minister of Justice of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous federal state, was presented with the German edition of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning’s recent publication on prison libraries, Books beyond bars, at a ceremony in August 2020. The presentation took place during a visit to Münster Prison library, which is featured in the book.
Learn more

A new UNESCO issue note, produced by UIL, aims to enhance higher education institutions’ engagement with local communities in the context of the current pandemic, now and in its aftermath. It addresses education policy-makers and planners as well as professionals in the higher education sector. Learn more
Global survey on the contribution of universities and other higher education institutions to lifelong learning coming up on 5 October 2020. Watch this page for more information
Adult learning and education
On 22 September 2020, the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), in cooperation with the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO), will virtually launch the publication Trends in Adult Learning and Education in the Arab Region – Findings from the Fourth Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE 4). Register now
More than 8,000 community learning centres across Viet Nam have reading corners as a result of a national strategy to promote a reading culture in the country. The strategy was developed by Ms Lien Anh Tong, a specialist in the Ministry of Education and Training’s Continuing Education Department, during a UIL CONFINTEA fellowship. Learn more
During a series of regional webinars on enhancing national capacities for monitoring adult learning and education – organized by UIL in cooperation with DVV International and the International Council for Adult Education in July 2020 – participants learned more about the concept of adult education, how to ensure data accuracy and comparability, and how to strengthen national consultations for data gathering. Learn more
UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities

Call for applications:
UNESCO invites members of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities to submit their applications to host the fifth International Conference on Learning Cities in autumn 2021 by 15 October 2020. Learn more

Read our newly published issue note and find out how cities are utilizing the power of non-formal and informal learning to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Learn more
“On 23 September 2020, new members will join the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities. Click on this text to find out who they are”

The UNESCO learning city of Shanghai launched its Community Action Plan on ESD on 20 August during an online meeting. Participants included officials from the learning cities of Espoo and Hamburg, UIL, UNESCO’s Section ‘ESD for 2030’ and more than 50 officials and experts from Shanghai. Learn more

On 19 September 2020, the UNESCO learning city of Evry-Courcouronnes hosted its first major learning city event on the topic of science and learning, with the launch of Evry’s Micro-Folie, a digital museum and space for learning activities designed with and for the city’s inhabitants.
On 8 July 2020, UIL and the PASCAL International Observatory hosted the second webinar in the ‘Learning cities’ COVID-19 recovery’ series. This event looked at the challenges of planning learning initiatives, measuring their effectiveness and evaluating learning outcomes in distance learning. Learn more

On 26 August 2020, the UNESCO learning city of Osan hosted the webinar ‘Eco-friendly, green learning cities in the post-corona era’. It was organized by the Korean Association of Lifelong Learning Cities and the Korean National Commission for UNESCO in cooperation with UIL. Watch the webinar
Virtual tour of UIL's historic building
Explore our databases




International Review of Education

These articles are free to access until 30 September

IRE: Call for special issue proposals
How cities are utilizing the power of non-formal and informal learning to respond to the COVID-19 crisis
Deuxième phase de la recherche-action sur la mesure des apprentissages des bénéficiaires des programmes d'alphabétisation: référentiel de compétences harmonisé
Thinking differently, together: Towards a lifelong learning society
External articles

New learning economy challenges unis to be part of reshaping lifelong education
The Conversation

How education technology can improve learning for all students

Covid-19 is hampering access to education particularly in Africa
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