Revising the 1976 Recommendation on Adult Education

The expert group at UIL ©Alison Cross

At its 19th session in 1976, the UNESCO general conference adopted a Recommendation on the Development of Adult Education, based on an impetus from the third International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA III). This Recommendation continues to form UNESCO’s most important set of standards on adult education for member states.

Visionary in its broad set of objectives and adoption of a rights-based approach to adult learning, the original 1976 document nevertheless requires an update to more accurately reflect developments in the discourse of adult education and its relationship to literacy as a continuum and to lifelong learning, among other topics. In July 2012, an expert group met at UIL to discuss necessary revisions to the Recommendations, which was followed by an online consultation with over 300 participants from more than 30 countries.

The revision process has continued in April with a meeting of the UNESCO Executive Board to discuss proposed amendments. UIL will continue to coordinate the revision process, with an expected outcome expected to be adopted by UNESCO's General Conference in Autumn 2015.