Pilot Workshop on developing capacity for establishing lifelong learning systems in UNESCO Member States

Thu 28 Apr 2011 01:36:00 PM EEST

As part of its strategic objective to build capacity for effective lifelong learning policy and practice in Member States, UIL organised this Pilot Workshop in Hamburg,Germany, from 22 November to 3 December 2010.

Tailor-made for policy-makers and researchers, the Workshop aimed to strengthen Member States´ capacities in developing national policy and strategies to establish lifelong learning systems. Twenty participants from ten countries in Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda and Tanzania) and Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam) took part.

The Workshop demonstrated the evolution of lifelong learning as a concept and as a guiding principle in transforming education and generated key elements of lifelong learning policies, strategies and systems. It also confirmed that, particularly in poorer countries, lifelong learning is seen as a means to enhance individuals´ capability to overcome developmental challenges, to reduce poverty and to build democratic societies. Through field visits participants were able to get an understanding of lifelong learning policies and systems as they are implemented in some European countries. One participant said afterwards that the field visits were ‘a lifetime opportunity to experience lifelong learning in real life´.

One of the main outcomes of the workshop was the presentation by each country team of a draft proposal for a national lifelong learning policy framework in their respective countries. A follow-up strategy, covering actions to be taken by participants and by UIL, was discussed and adopted at the end of the workshop.

As a first step to follow-up the Workshop, UIL will contribute to this year´s ADEA Triennial with a cross-national study, Key issues and policy considerations to promote lifelong learning in selected African countries. All five African countries who took part have made since progress in implementing the workshop follow-up strategy. In Rwanda the Kigali Institute of Education is creating a department of lifelong learning. The participants from Kenya have presented the key messages and outcomes of the Workshop to adult education officers in five national districts. In Namibia lifelong learning will be on the agenda in the upcoming National Conference on Education. Tanzania is planning to organise a national workshop to raise awareness of the importance of lifelong learning for community development. The role of lifelong learning in promoting sustainable social and economic development has been further emphasised in the implementation of Ethiopia´s new Development and Transformation Programme.