New batch of CONFINTEA Scholars embark on training and refinement at UIL

15 September 2017

Lifelong learning, family literacy, adult learning and education (ALE), rural development and regional trends in adult education policy – these are some of the work topics of the new generation of CONFINTEA scholars who arrived last week at the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) in Hamburg, Germany. They will spend one month at the UIL library, which has one of the largest collections in the field of lifelong learning in the world, to develop their research projects, benefiting from the library’s extensive resources, first-hand guidance from UIL specialists, as well as valuable interactions among themselves.

The CONFINTEA Research Scholarship Programme was launched by UIL in 2012, as part of its monitoring and coordination function within the follow-up process of CONFINTEA VI (the 6th International Conference on Adult Education). The aim is to support researchers from across the globe, in particular from the Global South, to bring about a positive impact on the education sector in their home countries, especially in the areas of lifelong learning, adult and continuing education, literacy and non-formal basic education. So far, 43 scholars have taken part in this programme.

Following the research stay of this new batch of scholars in September, from 25-27 October 2017, comes the milestone CONFINTEA VI Mid-Term Review in Suwon, Republic of Korea. The international event will build a platform for senior-level decision makers in ALE all over the world to reflect on the relevant achievements and challenges since CONFINTEA VI in 2009, and set the stage for CONFINTEA VII, to be held in 2021.

What the scholars say

Timothy Tuti, data specialist from Kenya: ‘[I am] a health data scientist with lofty aspirations to measure the perceptions of government stakeholders on the effectiveness of lifelong learning on health and well-being of marginalized populations. How? Using statistical modelling applied to data collected from UNESCO’s third Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE III). In my first week here, I was lucky to discover Ulrike Hanemann’s insightful work in adult learning and education: I pay homage to this great researcher!’

Yi Ge, junior programme officer from UNESCO International Research and Training Centre for Rural Education in China: ‘Drawing on UIL’s institutional strength and the marvellous library, this scholarship programme creates new enlightenment for my concentration on lifelong learning. The information sharing among the CONFINTEA scholars and with UIL colleagues allows me to not only know more about literacy, adult education and skills development around the world, but also to learn more about myself.’

Odet Noa Comans from Cuba, whose research is about family literacy in the Cuban non-formal educational programme, Educate your Child: ‘My goal in participating in the CONFINTEA scholarship programme is to gather the most information from the UIL library, to implement a qualitative methodology to work with children and their families as part of the efforts to improve the national education system of Cuba. In this first week, I received excellent guidance from UIL experts and my small goal is to finish my study of UIL’s Guidelines for Family Literacy and Learning Programmes.’

Karma Lhazom, a former public servant currently working for an NGO in Bhutan: ‘I hope to widen my knowledge and understanding of lifelong learning, both in depth and in breadth. The first week already has me utterly mystified, skimming through the vast body of literature here at the library. However, through comparable immersion in the coming weeks, I hope to acquire a sense of focus and clarity, which will enable me to conduct sound analysis of the lifelong learning situation in Bhutan and produce a piece of work that will hopefully contribute to this under-researched topic in my country.’

Nermeen Rashad Gad, media specialist in Egypt’s Adult Education Authority: ‘My research is titled  “Measuring the Effectiveness of Funding Literacy and Adult Education Programmes in Egypt”. The expectation I had for the scholarship programme was to gain beneficial inputs for my work in adult education, lifelong learning and sustainable development. From my first day here, I already felt the family atmosphere among both the staff here and my fellow scholars. I hope to be a good ambassador for UIL, not only for Egypt but also for the whole Arab world. Finally, I would like to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to all the staff of the Institute, my supervisors and peers for their kind assistance and cooperation.’

At the same time, Henry Renna from the UNESCO Office in Santiago is joining the CONFINTEA scholars as a visiting researcher. He is developing the Youth and Adult Learning and Education Observatory for Latin America and the Caribbean.

We wish all the scholars a pleasant and fruitful stay at UIL!