Twenty-seven governmental experts, heads of non-formal adult education departments and representatives of inter-governmental and civil society organisations took part in an international meeting at UIL from 25 to 27 January 2011 to discuss approaches and methods in monitoring the implementation of the Belém Framework for Action. Specialists from all UNESCO regional bureaux and from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) complemented the group.
The first objective of the Expert Meeting was to scrutinise and amend two documents, which had already been the subject of an international online consultation forum in October/November 2010. The first of these was an Overall Monitoring Strategy, which had been drafted by UIL to establish an integrated approach to monitoring both the implementation of the Belém Framework and general developments in adult education and lifelong learning. The second document reviewed was a Monitoring Matrix, which was derived as a technical tool. The Matrix can be applied in implementing the key areas at operational level - and can subsequently serve as a global template, adjusted to different contexts and levels as required. The Meeting´s second objective was to discuss and develop a core set of common indicators which can be applied to a range of contexts. Third, the Meeting was to propose additional areas of research necessary to track the implementation of the Belém Framework.
Concerns put forward by participants confirmed UNESCO´s emphasis in the Monitoring Strategy and mirrored comments from the online consultation. First of all, national contexts and specificities must be taken into account, and ownership of the monitoring process must remain clearly at national level, even if the overall monitoring strategy is global in scope. Second, monitoring adult education in general and the Belém Framework in particular must streamline with other reporting processes, both internationally as well as nationally (and across ministries). The meeting produced very useful suggestions for the guidelines and questions that UNESCO will prepare for the first post-CONFINTEA national progress reports. It was acknowledged that a very clear and structured questionnaire would be crucial in guiding the reporting process.
As a major outcome, priorities were suggested for the next issues of the Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE), which will be UNESCO´s main instrument in giving a global account of the CONFINTEA follow-up process. The specific proposal is to focus on one thematic aspect in each forthcoming GRALE, in addition to a consistent set of core questions on the overall development of adult education. For the next GRALE, anticipated for publication in 2012, the focus proposed by the meeting is adult literacy.
Complementing the intense deliberations on the national reporting process with the help of guidelines, the meeting proposed specific areas where in-depth research would be needed to generate the information which cannot be obtained through national reports. The priority areas recommended for further research were around conceptual definitions, financing mechanisms, literacy and the recognition, validation, and accreditation of learning.
UIL is now developing a set of preliminary guidelines for reporting on national progress, in close collaboration with UIS and the UNLD department at UNESCO Headquarters. These will be further discussed in the second meeting of the CONFINTEA VI Advisory Group that will take place in Mexico City, Mexico, on 28 May 2011.