Supporting UNESCO Member States in enhancing the status of adult learning and education (ALE) and promoting their inclusion in comprehensive national education strategies forms a central part of the work of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL). Looking back at the last six years of my tenure, UIL has contributed greatly to the promotion and recognition of ALE. With joint commitment, regional and sub-regional action plans have been developed and adopted to ensure broad implementation of the Belém Framework for Action, while respecting regional specificities. Eight years on from the Sixth International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VI) in 2009, and four years ahead of CONFINTEA VII in 2021, UIL and its partners are organizing the CONFINTEA VI Mid-Term Review. This will take place in the city of Suwon, Republic of Korea, in October 2017. The review will examine progress in implementing the Belém Framework for Action across sectors in Member States. It will also delve deeper into ways in which countries might successfully design and implement ALE-related programmes and strategies within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The objective here is to ensure that the wider benefits of ALE are recognized and lifelong learning opportunities are made available for all.
On another note, I would like to thank the ALE community for its support of the work of UIL, both before and during my time as Director. As I hand over the baton to my successor, I am confident that the future of ALE will be bright if we all work together for the benefit of all, not least young and adult learners across the globe.
Enjoy reading this bulletin,
Arne Carlsen Director
UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning
Save the date: CONFINTEA VI Mid-Term Review 2017
CONFINTEA VI Mid-Term Review 2017 The Power of Adult Learning: Vision 2030
25-27 October 2017, Suwon, Republic of Korea
Dear Colleagues, Friends and Partners,
Please join us in the city of Suwon, Republic of Korea, for the Mid-Term Review of the Sixth International Conference on Adult Learning and Education (CONFINTEA VI).
The Mid-Term Review represents a unique opportunity to support adult learners worldwide and maximize the benefits of adult education for sustainable development. It will bring together senior-level decision-makers from policy and practice, including representatives of government, civil society, academia and the private sector.
The goal will be to learn from the past and set the stage for the future. The event will:
take stock of achievements and challenges in adult learning and education (ALE) since 2009, when 144 countries adopted the Belém Framework for Action. Focus will be on ALE in health and well-being, the labour market and local communities;
identify ways to improve participation in ALE, with a focus on enhancing inter-sectoral collaboration between ministries, institutions and individuals. This will be discussed in relation to the fourth Global Report on Adult Learning and Education, to be published in 2019;
explore how new global policy agreements and frameworks can help strengthen the impact of ALE. Such agreements include the UNESCO Recommendation on Adult Learning and Education, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Education 2030 Framework for Action.
The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) is delighted to be partnering on this important event with the Korean Ministry of Education, the Korean National Commission for UNESCO, the National Institute for Lifelong Education (NILE) in Korea, and the municipality of Suwon.
The Mid-Term Review sets the global stage for development of adult learning and education towards the Seventh International Conference on Adult Learning and Education (CONFINTEA VII), to be held in 2021.
We are looking forward to your participation in this important event!
On 24 March 2017, the mayor of Suwon city, Mr Taeyoung Yeom, and the mayor of Osan city, Mr Sangwook Kwak, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), on organizing the Mid-Term Review of CONFINTEA VI. The mayors were joined by their city council chairs, Mr Jinkwan Kim (Suwon) and Mr Junghwan Son (Osan), while UIL was represented by its director, Mr Arne Carlsen. Mr Kwangho Kim, the Secretary-General of the Korean National Commission for UNESCO, was also present at the signing, at which all parties agreed to cooperate on the event’s arrangements ‘on the basis of mutual respect and confidence’.
The signing of the MoU was part of a preparatory meeting for the organizing entities of this global event. There were also roundtable discussions on the development of lifelong learning in Suwon, which were hosted by its mayor. UIL experts, Mr Werner Mauch and Mr Sung Lee, also attended the discussions and gained useful insights on the landscape of lifelong learning in Suwon city. They also visited some of Suwon's 613 lifelong learning facilities.
Call for Applications: CONFINTEA Fellowship Programme 2017
Application deadline: 15 June 2017
--- In 2017 UIL strongly encourages applications from francophone countries ---
UIL is an international non-profit research, training, information, documentation and publishing centre. It promotes lifelong learning with a focus on adult and continuing education, literacy and non-formal basic education. Since the CONFINTEA Fellowship Programme was launched in 2011, 32 fellows from 28 Member States have taken part. UIL seeks to ensure geographical (i.e. regional and national) and gender balance in awarding the fellowships, and particularly welcomes applicants from the Global South.
The Fellowship Programme aims to strengthen the capacities of Member States in implementing major elements of the Belém Framework for Action (BFA). Fellows are, therefore, selected on the basis of their potential to develop national strategies in support of ALE in their respective countries. A draft proposal for a national strategy is the key expected output of the programme.
This year, Professor Paul Belanger (formerly professor at the University of Québec in Montréal and President of the International Council for Adult Education) will act as advisor to the fellows as they develop and follow up on their national educational strategies.
UIL will provide each fellow with a workstation and access to UIL’s resources, in particular its library’s unique collection. In addition, fellows will have the opportunity to exchange knowledge with other fellows, UIL staff and external partners. The CONFINTEA fellows will receive input and assistance from UIL, but should also be prepared to work on their own initiative.
UIL will arrange and pay for health insurance, a return economy ticket to Hamburg, and accommodation close to the Institute. A lump sum to cover living and miscellaneous expenses will be paid.
Applicants for a CONFINTEA Fellowship should:
have extensive experience – whether in government or civil society or as a researcher – in ALE;
be involved in formulating policies or planning and implementing programmes at national level (involvement in national activities related to the follow-up of CONFINTEA VI would be an asset);
have a good command of Microsoft Office;
be fluent in spoken and written French, and have a working knowledge of English.
Fellows will be expected to:
draft a national strategy on ALE which will be presented to the responsible government minister on the fellow’s return;
present the draft strategy to UIL staff for comment;
participate in presentations and workshops during the first half of the programme;
maintain a presence in the institute during normal working hours (i.e. Monday to Friday, 9.00 to 17.30) for the duration of the fellowship;
after the fellowship, provide regular reports on the implementation of the strategy and other follow-up activities.
Applicants must submit the following documents:
A written proposal for a national ALE strategy in line with the Belém Framework for Action (max. three pages).
Up-to-date curriculum vitae.
A cover letter.
Please submit your application by email by 15 June 2017 to the CONFINTEA Fellowship focal point, Ms Angela Owusu-Boampong, at: email@example.com
Launch of the third Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE III) in Latin America and the Caribbean
Eighty education experts attended the launch of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning’s (UIL) third Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE III) on 15 February 2017 in Brazil, which also saw the release of the Portuguese version of the report. Topics at the event included the challenges of adult literacy and ways to strengthen adult learning and education (ALE) in the country. Experts in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) have been working hard towards improving adult learning and literacy in the region and implementing the 2009 Belém Framework for Action, an agreement by 144 countries to improve ALE policies, governance, financing, participation and quality.
Mixed Progress: ALE in Latin America and the Caribbean
UIL experts shared data gathered from GRALE III, which was based on monitoring surveys completed by 139 UNESCO Member States, including results from 24 LAC countries. According to the report’s findings, 83 per cent of LAC countries saw a significant improvement in their ALE policies since 2009. However, 36 per cent allocate less than 1 per cent of their national education budgets to ALE. Because ALE is improving in the region, focus should be shifted to providing more holistic approaches to ALE in order to meet the targets set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Generating awareness on ALE and literacy through diverse channels
An important feature of the conference was the variety of presentations and speakers contributing to improving adult education in Brazil and the region. Brazil’s Ministry of Education took the opportunity to describe the new cycle of Brazil Alfabetizado (Literate Brazil), the country’s national literacy programme. A presentation on the ‘Paulo Freire Medal’, given to those initiatives that successfully address the broad range of literacy challenges in different parts of the country, was also given.
The event was hosted by Instituto Nacional de Estudos e Pesquisas Educacionais Anísio Teixeira (INEP – National Institute of Educational Research Anísio Teixeira) and co-organized and sponsored by the UNESCO Office in Brazil, which facilitated the Portuguese translation of GRALE III and was one of the driving forces in generating awareness on ALE in the LAC region. Another key partner was the Secretariat for Continuing Education, Literacy, Diversity and Inclusion (SECADI) of the Ministry of Education in Brazil.
UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) was delighted to partner with the International Council for Adult Education (ICAE); Serbia’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development; the University of Belgrade; and the Adult Education Society of Belgrade for the event, which was both creative and engaging. Discussion at the event was encouraged using different approaches: these included the forming of working groups to exchange thoughts and ideas. Topics included inter-sectoral approaches to adult learning and education (ALE), and regional contribution and collaboration concerning the follow-up processes and social partnerships in connection with the 2009 Sixth International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VI). Participants at the event also shared their experiences, laid the foundation for future cooperation, and identified mutual challenges and common areas of action.
Mixed progress: ALE in Eastern and Southeastern Europe
GRALE III findings are based on extensive surveys of 139 countries, including 12 countries from Eastern and Southeastern Europe, to ascertain the implementation of the Belém Framework for Action. Progress in the region is mixed: for example, ALE remains underfunded in many countries, with only four reportedly spending 1 per cent or more of their national education budget on ALE.
However, positive changes have also taken place: 10 countries in the region say their ALE policies have improved overall, and seven out of 12 countries suggested that ALE has had a positive impact on health, knowledge, attitudes, skills and values. With regard to government input, a little more than half reported introducing significant methods for monitoring ALE.
‘All of the countries of our sub-region are faced with challenges of unemployment and insufficient economic growth. It is clear that education and adult education has to be adapted to the needs of industry and economy so that it becomes an essential tool of economic growth,’ said Mr Dragan Županjeva, Ambassador in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Serbia and Coordinator for the Economic and Social Council of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030.
Working together to promote the benefits of ALE across sectors
ICAE Secretary General Katarina Popovic underlined the need for greater cooperation, both within and among countries. In this context, GRALE III found that cooperation on ALE is indeed improving in the region and that inter-departmental collaboration is key to reaping the benefits of ALE. Twelve countries claim to have strengthened inter-ministerial cooperation after recognizing that partnerships between different communities and stakeholder groups are mutually beneficial. GRALE III includes compelling evidence that ALE brings benefits for health and wellbeing, employment and the labour market, and social, civic and community life.
Progress and potential: Adult learning and education in Arab States
Launch of the third Global Report on Adult Learning and Education in Arabic
Development in adult learning and education in Arab States is imperative. The Arab States region has made important but unequal progress in recent years. Many states are affected by political instability, which takes a high toll on education. It is estimated that 51 million adults in the region lack sufficient reading and writing skills. In addition, every year, more and more children leave school without the skills to find a decent job.
On 7 and 8 February 2017, regional partners met in Rabat, Morocco, for the launch of the third Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE III), with special focus on its findings for the Arab States. To promote ALE dialogue among Arabic speakers from the region and beyond, the report has now been published in Arabic, thanks to translation by the UNESCO Beirut Office.
In his keynote address, UIL Director Mr Arne Carlsen shared positive news from GRALE III, noting that 67 per cent of Arab States report that their ALE policies have improved significantly since 2009, while 92 per cent report that the quality of ALE is improving thanks to pre-service and in-service training for teachers. Despite this positive change, Mr Carlsen stressed that only 13 countries in the region responded to the GRALE survey and called for enhanced efforts to improve the quality of data on ALE in the region.
The meeting also highlighted three ways in which adult learning and education in Arab States can fulfil its potential. First, political leaders need to put in place more comprehensive ALE policies that cut across sectors and link more strongly to the labour market. Encouragingly, countries in the region recognize the wider benefits of ALE: 75 per cent agree that ALE has benefits for the health sector, while 88 per cent say that literacy programmes help develop democratic values.
Second, partners from civil society need more opportunities to help shape ALE policies and programmes. Participants shared experiences from Egypt and Lebanon, where civil society has played an important role in promoting social and economic empowerment for women and in training ALE facilitators.
Finally, regional and international collaboration is important. In this context, participants agreed that more countries needed to engage in the next edition of GRALE. They also supported the revision of the ALE glossary for Arab States and the creation of a new Arab Literacy Portal. Progress in these areas will be shared at the Mid-Term Review of CONFINTEA-VI, to be held in the Republic of Korea on 25–27 October 2017.
The event in Rabat was co-organized by UIL, the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), the Regional UNESCO Office in Beirut and the UNESCO Office in Rabat.
Call for Applications: CONFINTEA Research Scholarships 2017
Since the UIL Research Scholarship Programme was launched in 2012, 43 scholars have taken part. Participants are selected on the basis of their potential to produce articles, research papers, programme tools or policies that can be shared with decision-makers and that will have an impact on the education sector in their home countries. UIL particularly welcomes applicants from the Global South.
UIL began publishing GRALE in 2009 in order to monitor development on adult learning and education in UNESCO Member States. GRALE reports are reference and advocacy documents, providing information for analysts and policy-makers, and reminding Member States of the commitment they made at the 2009 Sixth International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VI) in order to assist in monitoring the implementation of the Belém Framework for Action (BFA).
The third edition of GRALE assesses global progress in implementing the Belém Framework for Action, based on monitoring surveys completed by 139 UNESCO Member States. Bringing international partnerships together ensured that existing data sources – such as UNESCO Institute for Statistics data on literacy – were employed to devise 75 questions covering the five areas of action outlined in the Belém Framework for Action: policy; governance; financing; participation, inclusion and equity; and quality. The survey questionnaire was available in the six UN languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish).
GRALE III monitoring survey data is available in SPSS (quantitative dataset only) and Excel (quantitative and qualitative dataset) formats. Knowledge of data analysis methodology and experience in the use of statistical software packages (such as SPSS, STATA, and R) is therefore an advantage.
UIL will provide each scholar with a workstation and access to the considerable resources of its unique library. In addition, scholars will have a chance to exchange knowledge with other scholars, UIL staff and its external partners. They will work under the supervision of a UIL specialist, but they should also be prepared to work on their own initiative.
Scholars will be expected to present the research they have undertaken at UIL. Furthermore, in the months following completion of their scholarship, they must report on follow-up activities and the results of their research. Upon completion of their scholarship, participants will be eligible to join UIL’s Alumni Network.
UIL will arrange and pay for health insurance, accommodation close to the Institute, and a return economy ticket to Hamburg, Germany. Additionally, scholars will receive a lump sum of €500 contributing to other costs incurred before, during and after their research stay at UIL (such as visa costs, transport, and daily subsistence).
In order to apply, please submit the following:
A cover letter
Your research proposal
An up-to-date CV
Interested candidates are asked to submit their application by 31 May 2017 to UIL Research Scholarship Coordinator Ms Lisa Krolak, at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Postal applications may be sent to:
UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning
UIL Research Scholarships