This year, the UNESCO Institute for Education will, once more, have developed many research programmes, welcomed trainees, organized seminars, published numerous books, consulted and listened to educational policy-makers, and much, much more, not forgetting all of the follow-up to the Fifth International Conference on Adult Education. All these activities are described in this new annual report.
As UIE approaches its 50th anniversary it can look both back over the important ground covered since its foundation and forward to new challenges.
Despite the difficulties experienced by UIE from the early part of 2000, the Institute has not only been able to continue working at full speed, carrying out an extensive research programme, organising seminars and maintaining its publication and documentation services, but it has also embarked on a new programming cycle, involving a fundamental restructuring of its activities. This restructuring was completed successfully in 2000 and is now being implemented. The new structure, based on four clusters, has both streamlined the programme and made possible greater long-term continuity of work under the cluster themes.
2002 was a very special year for UIE. On 14 June, UIE celebrated its 50th anniversary in a spirit of renewed self-confidence and optimism. Although the Institute is now facing a tighter budget than in previous years, the threat of insolvency and uncertainty is now definitely averted. This is due in large measure to the support of many partners all over the world. UIE wishes to thank especially the German government and the government and Parliament of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg for their continuing support and hospitality to the Institute. Equally, we are grateful to the Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, and the Assistant Director-General for Education, Sir John Daniel, for their confidence in the Institute’s work, which now finds expression in the assignment of new responsibilities and extra-budgetary resources, including the Japanese Funds-in-Trust. We owe special thanks to the Member States of UNESCO and the governments of Sweden, Norway, Canada and Nigeria for their financial support.
In 2003, the UNESCO Institute for Education moved resolutely forward towards changing its status from that of a German foundation to becoming a full-fledged international institute. This change of status is not simply a legal matter. It implies much more: a transformation of identity, of spirit and of responsibility. Although a reduction of financial resources continues to weigh heavily on the Institute, UIE has proved that it will be able to continue its work under its new conditions, that it can win new sources of funding and that it is capable of thriving in a competitive surrounding with the aid of UNESCO, its staff, its partners and its worldwide networks.
In 2003, the Executive Board of UNESCO decided that the status and statutes of the UNESCO Institute for Education should be changed in order to make it a full-fledged international institute. Although the Host-country Agreement between UNESCO and the German Government – which is the decisive step towards the new international status of UIE – has not yet been concluded, the Institute has made in the past year great efforts to adapt to the new situation. A considerable attempt was made by UNESCO to integrate more organically UIE and other Education Institutes and Centres into the Education Sector. This was reflected in the UNESCO Strategic Review of its Post-Dakar Work on Education for All. Two central Task Forces on decentralization and on an overall strategy for the institutes contributed substantially to this integration. As a result, a closer interaction was created, a common vision and coherence were forged and better partnerships developed.
It is now foreseeable that 2005 was the last full year in which the UNESCO Institute for Education operated under its legal form as a German foundation. The 33rd General Conference of UNESCO has removed the last hurdle for the transformation of the Institute into a full-fledged international body. The decision to change the statutes of the Institute had been taken already in 2003 by the UNESCO Executive Board following a recommendation by the Director-General. The change will now be carried out in early 2006. In 2005 UIE made a big step forward towards being a more integral part of UNESCO. UIE actively participated in all reform task forces and implemented fully all decisions pertaining to Education Institutes. In the course of the current reform of the UNESCO Education Sector, all Education Institutes are being evaluated in order to improve their programmes and to optimize the cooperation between the Institutes and the Sector. UIE’s evaluation was finalized only a few weeks ago. It was a fruitful exercise for the Institute and will facilitate the transformation process we are going through. We are grateful to the UNESCO Internal Oversight Service and the external evaluation team that provided the Institute with a mirror and a set of constructive recommendations to improve its work, input and visibility within the UNESCO family and so to serve better its strategic objectives and Member States.
The year 2006 was another milestone in the transformation of the institute. At the end of June 2006 the UNESCO institute for Education (UIE), which was established in 1951/52 as a foundation under German law, closed down. The 174th session of UNESCO’s Executive Board – following the recommendation of the Director-General- decided to turn the institute into a body under international law and to give it a new name, the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL). This was a historic moment in the life of the Institute. The name change was recommended during a process of external evaluation carried out in late 2006 under the guidance of UNESCO’s internal Oversight Service (IOS). The evalution team from the Norwegian Institute for Studies in Research and Education centre for innovation Studies (NIFU STEP) noted that the name UNESCO Institute for Education was too unspecific and did not accurately reflect the Institute’s long-standing focus on adult learning as well as out-of-school and non-formal education in the perspective of lifelong learning.