UNESCO has played an important role in developing a vision of education that embraces formal, non-formal and informal learning throughout life. A number of UNESCO Member States have already made substantial progress towards establishing a national system of lifelong learning. Today’s learning societies require individuals to upgrade their skills continuously in order to participate fully in society. This translates to a need for renewed efforts by governments, educational institutions and civil society organisations to ensure the provision of learning opportunities.
UIL has created The International Directory of Lifelong Learning: Policy and Research as a tool to promote lifelong learning policy, research and practice. The overall aim of this Directory is to build networks and facilitate policy development, research and capacity-building and to provide an opportunity for policy-makers and experts to collaborate in lifelong learning.
More specifically, the Directory has the following objectives:
- To serve as a database of governmental departments, institutions and organisations involved in lifelong learning
- To provide a platform for policy-makers and researchers worldwide to exchange practice, ideas and research outcomes in lifelong learning
- To galvanise international and regional collaboration in policy development and research in establishing lifelong learning systems. Start search.
Overview of the core mandates of the listed organisations
This section outlines the various roles and core mandates of the governmental departments, institutions and organisations listed in this Directory. The entries have been classified into five world regions, namely: Africa, Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and North America, and Latin America and the Caribbean.
In Africa, 27 countries are represented by 52 governmental departments, institutions and organisations leading lifelong learning. The general issues addressed are the promotion of adult education, the establishment of links between government and industry, the promotion of mother-tongue education and collaboration between experts in the field, worldwide. These thematic areas remain top priority in facilitating lifelong learning.
Latin America and the Caribbean
The Latin American and the Caribbean region is represented by 28 governmental departments, institutions and organisations from 15 countries. The lifelong learning agenda here is geared towards research and development, especially in providing youth training opportunities. There is energetic effort to enhance the quality of teaching. Furthermore, understanding the ties between the economy and education has led to the establishment of vocational schools and platforms to reinforce youth empowerment.
Asia and the Pacific
The Asia and the Pacific region registered 44 governmental departments, institutions and organisations from 20 countries. Policy development and research are the main foci in this region. There is a strong push for collaboration among research institutes and universities. In addition, raising literacy and numeracy levels among adults has become a priority in the region. There is a strong commitment to the involvement of women leaders and organisations that focus on women’s development and the promotion of gender equality.
In the Arab region, 14 countries are represented. There are 23 governmental departments, institutions and organisations nominated by these countries that promote policy and research in adult learning, vocational training and teacher training. Lifelong learning is promoted by national organisations through linkages between education and vocational training organisations and businesses. There is a determined focus on vocational education and ICT programmes to facilitate the skills development of vulnerable youth. There is a move towards the development of pedagogical technique as well as the evaluation and monitoring of teaching and training programmes. The training of teachers and supervisors is also an important component of the Arab educational community.
Europe and North America
The Europe and North American region lists 69 governmental departments, institutions and organisations from 28 countries. The lifelong learning institutions and organisations in these regions are keen to provide a robust platform that provides adequate training for adults with the goal of providing opportunities for integration and re-integration into the labour market. There is also a push to promote research and practice to inform a sound educational and political agenda. The professional development of teachers is also to the fore with respect to improving teaching quality.
Key policy issues and research outcomes
In general, policy outcomes have been expressed primarily by the establishment of training programmes, seminars and conferences, and by the publication of literature on lifelong learning practices, as well as by the development of nationwide surveys and progress reports. Some organisations have developed lifelong learning, adult education and adult literacy policies, and have worked with international agencies to facilitate the implementation of non-formal adult education policies in-country. Other institutions and organisations have put in place the coordination and monitoring of on-going adult education policies, including the implementation of literacy centres for adults as well as for young women. There are programmes which are currently being set up by institutions to empower local communities by introducing sustainable income-generating activities. In addition, there has been the implementation of ICT training and the use of media to promote lifelong learning policies. It is anticipated that this directory will facilitate research studies in adult education and collaboration among institutes. Increased research and collaboration promotes discourse and creates an opportunity for shared knowledge in the spread of the vision of lifelong learning.
How to join
Entry into the UNESCO International Directory of Lifelong Learning: Policy and Research is gained through nomination by the National Commission for UNESCO in each Member State. Interested governmental departments (institutions, agencies) that have a mandate to formulate lifelong learning policy at national level or engage substantially in the study of lifelong learning can contact their National Commission for UNESCO. After receiving the nomination forms from the National Commissions, a UIL task force will evaluate the eligibility of nominated organisations and add qualifying entries to the Directory. Download the Nomination Form.