Fostering lifelong learning through the effective recognition, validation and accreditation of basic youth and adult education

27 June 2016

On 23 and 24 June 2016, UNESCO led an international expert meeting on the Recognition, Validation and Accreditation of Basic Youth and Adult Education as a Foundation for Lifelong Learning at the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) in Hamburg. Participants of the meeting identified and analysed major trends, challenges and recommendations for the recognition, validation and accreditation (RVA) of basic education. This was the second in a series of meetings examining the findings of a desk review of existing policies, systems and practical approaches to RVA of youth and adult basic education. The meetings are part of a collaborative research project led by UIL and UNESCO Headquarters’ Section of Partnership, Cooperation and Research. The project brings together experts from Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and Latin America. The meeting resulted in a draft report which is scheduled for publication next year. At a third meeting in October, participants will refine this report and devise a set of policy messages and recommendations.

During the opening session, UIL Director Arne Carlsen emphasized the relevance of the research project to Sustainable Development Goal 4, which is to ‘ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’. The project also reflects UNESCO’s commitment to promoting equity in education by making lifelong learning accessible to disadvantaged groups, in particular. Participants of the expert meeting agreed that more needs to be done to integrate youth and adult literacy and basic education into regional and national policies, qualifications frameworks, and recognition, validation and accreditation systems and mechanisms.

All citizens have a right to basic education, which is the foundational and minimum level of education. Participants of the meeting also agreed that if RVA processes are designed and organized in ways that factor in the needs of learners, they are likely to succeed in providing them with lifelong learning opportunities. In closing, participants reaffirmed the relevance and timeliness of research in RVA, given the huge number of young people and adults around the globe that lack basic education and the ambitious targets of SGD 4 that need to be met.