The power of adult learning and education across the globe
Suwon, Republic of Korea 25 October 2017 – More than 300 international stakeholders from 95 countries gathered today in Suwon, Republic of Korea, to review the implementation of adult learning and education across the world. At a global meeting organized jointly by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) and the two cities of Suwon and Osan in the Republic of Korea, participants shared concerns about the mixed progress achieved in providing adult learning and education opportunities to youth and adults in different countries and regions of the world. This review of the sixth International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VI) and its outcome document, the Belém Framework for Action, comes at a time when countries are working to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 4 on education and lifelong learning. It is therefore critical to move forward in providing quality education and lifelong learning opportunities to youth and adults in order to achieve the SDGs.
In his opening remarks to the conference, Kabir Shaikh, Director a.i. of UIL, emphasized the importance of the Mid-Term Review task: ‘The concept of adult education is rapidly changing from an optional or voluntary leisure pursuit to an essential requirement supporting changing patterns of society – healthy living, sustainability and economic regeneration. Adult learning and education, therefore, has to be a carefully planned but flexible mode of learning catering for a much wider and larger community of learners.’
CONFINTEA Mid-Term Review participants, who were drawn from ministries, adult learning and education institutions, universities and research centres, civil society and the private sector, expressed their readiness to work together, to help improve and strengthen adult learning and education policies, plans, strategies and practices. The conference will run for three days until 27 October 2017 and will result in an outcome document that will detail a set of forward-looking strategic actions for UNESCO Member States, as well as for national, regional and global development partners, on the continuing implementation of the Belém Framework for Action as well as the 2015 Recommendation on Adult Learning and Education. The outcome document will aim to strengthen knowledge and awareness of the wider benefits of adult learning and education across different societal sectors, and in SDG 4 as elaborated in the Education 2030 Framework, and the broader 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The conference also sets the stage for the seventh International Conference on Adult Education, expected to take place in 2021.