Regional Policy Forum on Creating Pathways to Empowerment in the Arab States

5 October 2018

More than 30 country representatives from the Arab States came together at a Regional Policy Forum on Creating Pathways to Empowerment: Building Alternative Learning Pathways (ALP) and Recognising, Validating and Accrediting (RVA) Non-Formal and Informal Learning in the Arab States, jointly organized by the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in the Arab States, Beirut, Lebanon, and the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) Hamburg, Germany.

The meeting took place in Beirut on 25 and 26 September 2018. It reviewed the draft Regional Policy Framework for the Development and Implementation of Alternative Learning Pathways (ALP) and Recognition, Validation and Accreditation (RVA) of the outcomes of non-formal education in the Arab States. The framework is meant to open up possibilities for children, youth and adults to render their competences visible and to enable them to continue to higher levels of education or enter the labour market.

Participants included country representatives from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Syria, Sudan, Iraq and Yemen, most of them working in ministries of education, government agencies, international and regional organizations, academia, or civil society organizations.

Participants provided feedback on the draft proposal in view of their national challenges. They discussed how the Framework could be adapted, and what modifications and next steps are needed.

An overwhelming consensus was reached on the crucial role of ALP and RVA in building bridges between sub-components of formal education and training systems at all levels and in giving a sense of agency to those left behind. The need for a common framework for the Arab States was emphasized many times throughout the meeting by the national experts, to enhance mobility between the countries.

The mechanisms and processes, which will allow for the recognition of non-formal outcomes among adolescents, youth and adults in the region were analysed and scrutinised. Regional differences were identified and drawn on so as to strengthen the framework to make it responsive to the needs of the region. This process clearly highlighted the benefits of regional and sector-wide coordination, and the need for more systematic approaches that will ensure a prosperous and equitable educational future in the Arab region.

The Regional Policy Framework will be published in Arabic and English and followed-up by a series of capacity building workshops in the region.