The new UNESCO Recommendation on Adult Learning and Education (ALE): how much impact will it have?


4 August 2015

Members of the Network on Between Global and Local: Adult Learning and Development ‒ one of the networks making up the European Society for Research on the Education of Adults (ESREA) ‒ reviewed the process of revising the 1976 UNESCO Recommendation on Adult Learning and Education when it gathered for a conference entitled ‘Perspectives on Community Practices – Living and Learning in Community’.

During a panel discussion at this conference, which took place from 18 to 20 June 2015 in Ljubljana, Slovenia, the planned adoption of a new, revised recommendation was welcomed in principle. Werner Mauch (Senior Programme Specialist at the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning) described the objectives and current state of the ongoing revision process; Marcella Milana (Aarhus University, Denmark) focused on the proposed new recommendation’s ‘actualizing’, ‘modernizing’, ‘positioning’ and ‘popularizing’ elements; and Carlos Vargas Tames (Deusto University, Spain) examined conceptual changes and challenges for implementation. Vida Mohorčič-Špolar (University of Maribor and University of Ljubljana, Slovenia) focused on the Slovenian context, describing the limited impact of the 1976 Recommendation on Slovenia’s ALE policy and practice as well as the inadequate participation of relevant players in the consultation process for the new version.

Participants of the panel discussion agreed that a new recommendation is needed, especially in order to underline the contribution of ALE to social development. They also praised UNESCO’s rights-based approach to education, highlighting the relevance of UNESCO’s broad vision of education and training for adults in current international discourse.


The Draft UNESCO Recommendation on Adult Learning and Education, prepared on the basis of comments and observations on a working draft received from forty-seven Member States is available online at http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002325/232596e.pdf

Consult UNESCO’s Preliminary study on the technical and legal aspects relating to the desirability of revising the 1976 Recommendation concerning Adult Education, 2013, for more information on the revision process of the 1976 UNESCO Recommendation on the development of adult education, available at http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002226/222602e.pdf

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