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FOREWORD

As the first year of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals draws to a close, we must evaluate how much we have achieved and set strategic plans to realize the remainder of the work by 2030. At the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), 2016 has been an eventful year, with these goals guiding our work. As you will see from this issue of Nexus, which focuses on action research to advance literacy, we have enhanced our work to reach out to governments and educational institutions in this regard. We continue to work with different entities to ensure that literacy programmes are aptly evaluated, and that the outcomes of the evaluations are used to improve the effectiveness and quality of these programmes. With this participatory and collaborative action-oriented approach, we aim to improve the quality of literacy and non-formal education policies and practices. This will ultimately lead to increased learning outcomes and better access to education and lifelong learning opportunities.

Much remains still to be done and UIL is delighted to be at the crux of defining lifelong learning in relation to the current global development agenda. I have been the Institute’s director since 2011, and, as my term comes to an end, I would like to call your attention to the vacancy advertised herein. UNESCO is looking for a strategic thinker, a strong candidate to further the work of this great Institute and it is my wish that you will all share it with qualified candidates in your various networks.

On behalf of the UIL team, I would like to wish you all a happy and successful New Year, 2017.
 

Arne Carlsen
Director
UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning

 
Action research: Using evidence to improve the quality of literacy policy and practice
RAMAA: Towards effective implementation

RAMAA (Recherche-action sur la mesure des apprentissages des bénéficiaires des programmes d’alphabétisation) is an action research initiative of UIL to measure the learning outcomes of literacy programme participants. The project is currently in its second phase, with 12 countries participating in the action research. The countries are: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Chad and Togo. Five of the countries, Burkina Faso, Mali, Morocco, Niger and Senegal, participated in the first phase of the project and are currently working to implement common tools to measure the level of skills reached by participants of literacy programmes. In the second phase, the project will ensure that the development of new tools is informed by the lessons of the first phase and that country-specific concerns are addressed to make implementation more effective.

In line with these objectives, an information and consultation ministerial meeting was held on 10 November 2016 in Marrakech, Morocco. This high-level meeting brought together ministers and ministerial representatives of participating countries who developed recommendations to better mobilize resources for carrying out RAMAA II and ensure that the project is sustained at national level.

The ministerial meeting was preceded by a meeting of national coordinators and experts, which took place in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, with all 12 participating countries represented. This first technical workshop of RAMAA II led to the establishment of a rich contextual data bank that will help develop a common competency framework of RAMAA II in line with the objectives of the research.

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Action research guidebook supports training in Africa
UIL's publication Action Research to Improve Youth and Adult Literacy, illustrating how participatory action research contributes to youth and adult literacy education and learning, is serving as a guidebook to develop training courses for adult educators in Senegal and Uganda. With the support of the Institute, it is expected that the guidebook will be integrated into the curricula of various teacher training institutions in both countries, with the aim of providing high-quality education services to enhance literacy.

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Community learning centres and education and learning
Viet Nam has adopted a national commitment, the Hoa Binh Commitment, to further promote education for sustainable development through community learning centres (CLCs). At the Hoa Binh Conference in October this year, representatives of CLCs in Viet Nam and CLC experts from Cambodia, Japan and Lao People's Democratic Republic, as well as specialists from UIL and UNESCO Bangkok and Hanoi, shared case studies of CLC good practice and reaffirmed CLCs’ importance in providing localized learning activities and thereby engaging communities in lifelong learning.

A highlight of the conference was the presentation of the UIL handbook Communities in Action: Lifelong Learning for Sustainable Development and its Vietnamese translation.

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Building capacities through research and policy studies
CONFINTEA Fellowship: from words to actions
2016 witnessed the important development of UIL's CONFINTEA Fellowship programme, an attempt by the Institute to build the capacities of policy stakeholders in the field of adult learning and education (ALE). Ten fellows participated in the programme, including government officials and representatives of NGOs from countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The intense one-month programme was overseen by UIL experts. By identifying the main challenges and needs of their countries in ALE, the fellows came up with policy designs covering a wide range of subjects in the following areas: ALE and integrated literacy; ALE in promoting lifelong learning; and ALE and community learning centres.

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GRALE III: from global to regional
Following the international launch of the third Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE III), four regional launches have been organized to disseminate its finding to particular regions. By sharing region-specific data on adult learning and education (ALE), UIL aims to develop a more nuanced dialogue and understanding of ALE in these regions, leading to more investment and changes to policy and practice for youth and adult learners. Lessons, experiences and practices of ALE are also shared and discussed at a regional level, respectively:

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GRALE III monitoring survey data now available
UIL is pleased to share the GRALE III monitoring survey data in SPSS and Excel formats, to serve research purposes.

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Advancing lifelong learning at all levels
First Members’ Meeting of the UNESCO GNLC
The UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC) held its first-ever Members’ Meeting amid the enthusiastic and motivated representatives of world cities gathered in Hangzhou, China. The meeting was held on 15 and 16 November, with more than 150 city representatives from all over the world coming together to share and learn from each other’s good practice and experience of providing better lifelong learning opportunities for their citizens. The main points discussed included the need for a more even distribution of learning resources between urban and rural areas; the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to increase access to learning opportunities; and the need to develop monitoring parameters for learning cities. Participants developed and endorsed the Hangzhou Statement of the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities, demonstrating their commitment to the fundamentals of the network.

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Vacancy Announcements

Director

Your chance to work for the common good of all through lifelong learning!

Deadline: 30 December 2016

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Administrative Clerk

Join our enthusiastic, international team in the beautiful Hanseatic city of Hamburg in Germany!

Deadline: 08 January 2017

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Upcoming events

18-20 September 2017

Third International
Conference on Learning
Cities

Venue:
Cork, Ireland

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Call for Papers
International Review of Education - Journal of Lifelong Learning (IRE)

IRE is inviting submissions from researchers and practitioners of education. Priority will be given to papers on adult education, non-formal education and literacy, and formal education viewed through the lens of lifelong learning.

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Publications
Why RAMAA is important for literacy: Testimonies from participating countries

This publication, signed by the ministers and ministerial representatives of the 12 countries participating in the second phase of RAMAA (Action Research on Measuring Literacy Programme Participants' Learning Outcomes), reflects their unconditional commitment to the implementation of the project, so as to improve the quality of youth and adult literacy programmes.

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UIL Biennium Report 2014 | 2015

The report presents UIL's achievements over the last two years. It is available in print and online.

The next report of its kind is expected to come out in 2017.

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This special issue of IRE contains six articles exploring the role of adult education and lifelong learning systems in helping to build more sustainable societies. The guest editors argue that a greater contribution could be made, if adult education were not subjugated to economic rationales and ideologies.

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