The Global Commitment to Adult Learning and Education
Global leaders know that people of all ages need opportunities to learn and acquire new skills. Adult learning and education (ALE) can help countries tackle their economic, social, political, cultural and environmental challenges. The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) helps forge global commitments to improve ALE. It also monitors progress and guides countries in putting their commitments into practice.
The global commitment to ALE is stronger than ever
Since 2009, countries have committed to strengthen ALE in a series of landmark international agreements:
- The Belém Framework for Action (BFA) was adopted at the sixth International Conference on Adult Education in 2009. The BFA calls for progress in five priority ‘areas for action’: policy; governance; funding; participation, inclusion and equity; and quality.
- The Recommendation on Adult Learning and Education (RALE) was adopted by UNESCO Member States in 2015. The Recommendation defines the goals of ALE, reiterates the BFA’s five areas for action and calls for more international cooperation on ALE.
- The importance of ALE is recognised in the Education 2030 Framework for Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Both identify adults as learners, recognise that learning can take place in non-formal and informal settings, and include specific targets that relate to ALE.
Monitoring progress and promoting dialogue on ALE
In accordance with its mandate, UIL helps monitor and promote progress in implementing the above commitments.
- The regular Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE) takes stock of progress in strengthening ALE, drawing on national reports, robust analysis and latest data.
- UIL prepares, organizes and follows up on the International Conferences on Adult Education (known as ‘CONFINTEA’), six of which have been organized since 1949. In 2009, CONFINTEA VI brought together more than 1,000 participants from 144 countries.
- Since CONFINTEA VI (Brazil, 2009), a series of regional events has highlighted challenges, opportunities and initiatives, and forged commitments in each of UNESCO’s regions.
- At the national level, the CONFINTEA fellowship and scholarship programmes help strengthen capacity, knowledge and networks among national ALE policy-makers, practitioners, activists and researchers.