UIL supports Cambodia, China, the Philippines and Rwanda to strengthen education systems from a lifelong learning perspective

22 January 2020

The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) supports a series of actions underway to strengthen education systems from a lifelong learning perspective in Cambodia, China, the Philippines and Rwanda. Representatives of education ministries, professionals from other government sectors, education planners and researchers from all four countries are currently in the process of finalizing and implementing policy measures to facilitate lifelong learning opportunities for all based on a capacity-building workshop co-organized by UIL, the National Commission of the People’s Republic of China for UNESCO and Shanghai Open University at the end of 2019.

Action plan developed for the implementation of Cambodia’s lifelong learning policy

The priority of the Cambodian partners is to finalize an action plan for the implementation of the country’s recently adopted national lifelong learning policy. The action plan features measures to establish a management mechanism, legislative framework, financial support and human resource development. For each of the 11 strategies detailed in Cambodia’s lifelong learning policy, it specifies activities, leading institutions, relevant stakeholders, a timeline and a budget. With the national lifelong learning policy having been officially launched in December 2019, finalization of the corresponding action plan will help to translate policy objectives into lifelong learning opportunities for people across Cambodia.

Establishing a national system for lifelong learning resource provision in China

The Chinese team that participated in the capacity-building workshop, diverse in terms of professional background as well as geographical representation, is working towards the formulation of a policy proposal to establish a national system for lifelong learning resource provision, with a focus on the open university model. This proposal addresses two areas at the national level in China: building and sharing lifelong learning resources, and monitoring the quality of lifelong learning resources. It is also hoped that it will support the establishment of a ‘Lifelong Learning Resource Sharing Alliance’ – a panel of secretariats representing open universities across China. Next steps include working with the Ministry of Education to advance the document, as well as striving to build the profile of lifelong learning as China prepares its 14th Five-Year Plan for the Development of Education (2021–2025) in the coming months.

Drafting a legislative framework for lifelong learning in the Philippines

The concept of lifelong learning has already been on the political agenda of the Philippines, and there is a Philippine Qualifications Framework (PQF) in place. However, learning pathways require better articulation and the refinement of measures for the recognition, validation and accreditation of non-formal and informal learning outcomes. Additionally, stakeholders’ responsibilities in lifelong learning need to be clarified. For these reasons, representatives of the Philippines are demonstrating their commitment towards operationalizing lifelong learning in the country. This involves mapping out learning pathways currently and potentially available in the Philippines, based on the PQF, as well as determining the feasibility of establishing a national lifelong learning institute, and planning to embed UNESCO's learning city concept in the Philippines. Efforts are now underway to formulate a national legislative framework to support these actions.

Developing an action plan for the development of a lifelong learning policy in Rwanda

In Rwanda, there are existing policy frameworks, cross-sectoral partnerships and technical working groups for diverse forms of educational provision contributing to lifelong learning. Yet there is currently no co-ordinating mechanism nor lifelong learning policy. Therefore, national representatives have developed background research on other countries’ experiences of developing lifelong learning policies, as well as a situational analysis of contextual factors unique to Rwanda, a series of strategies to advocate for lifelong learning, and an action plan for the development of a national lifelong learning policy. This information is in the process of being shared with the Ministry of Education for further refinements of the actions proposed.


With the ongoing commitment of country representatives and continuing support from UIL, this year looks set to witness the further strengthening of education systems from a lifelong learning perspective in Cambodia, China, the Philippines and Rwanda. Keep an eye on UIL’s website for news of more developments.