From Okayama to Hoa Binh: promoting Education for Sustainable Development through community learning centres
In the Asia-Pacific region, Community Learning Centres (CLC) are an important delivery mechanism for adult learning and education. They provide easy access to lifelong learning for all, often empowering community members to organize activities towards sustainable development. Since the CLC initiative was first introduced in Viet Nam in the late 1990s, the number of centres has reached 11,000 and now covers almost all communes, wards and towns. Despite this progress, Viet Nam is yet to harness the full potential of learning and development activities facilitated by CLC when it comes to addressing sustainable development.
In light of this, the Viet Nam Conference on Promoting Education for Sustainable Development through Community Learning Centres, co-organized by the Viet Nam Association for Learning Promotion, the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training, Hoa Binh People’s Committee and the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) took place on 7 and 8 October 2016 in Hoa Binh, Viet Nam. Representatives of CLC in ten provinces and cities in Viet Nam and CLC experts from Cambodia, Japan and Lao People’s Democratic Republic, as well as specialists from UIL, UNESCO Bangkok and Hanoi gathered to share cases of various CLC practices for sustainable development such as poverty reduction, waste management, health promotion and local cultural promotion. Participants revisited the Okayama Commitment (2014) and reaffirmed the strength of CLC for finding local solutions and providing learning activities in line with local needs and culture. A highlight of the conference was the presentation of the UIL handbook Communities in Action: Lifelong Learning for Sustainable Development and its Vietnamese translation. This handbook introduces government policy support measures and action principles of CLC.
Discussions at the conference turned into a national commitment to further promote Education for Sustainable Development through CLC. The Hoa Binh Commitment will guide actions carried out by CLC nationwide to support the implementation of Viet Nam Sustainable Development Strategy for 2011-2020 and the Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development. The Viet Nam Association for Learning Promotion will monitor the implementation of commitments and collect and publish more case studies on CLC practices to improve the quality of lifelong learning practices by CLC across the country.