The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) is pleased to present its Biennium Report 2014 | 2015, both in print and online.

With a series of milestone events in education and lifelong learning on a global scale, the 2014–2015 biennium was a period of transition in which the Institute worked with governmental and non-governmental partners for the greater good of all people. This report presents in a dynamic design UIL’s achievements in research, capacity building, networking and publication in each of its operational programmes and units over this two-year period.

UIL would like to thank its donors, partners, Governing Board, staff members, interns and trainees for their contribution to its work in 2014–2015.


It gives me great pleasure to introduce this Medium-Term Strategy 2008-2013 for the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL). Since our change of status to a full UNESCO Institute two years ago, accompanied by a new name (we were previously the UNESCO Institute of Education), many more avenues have been opened up for us to explore. There have been new ideas, concepts and courses of action to understand and engage with, new methods of working and new partnerships to be built, both within and outside UNESCO.


Download: Building on our Gains: Medium-term Strategy 2008–2013 (PDF 485 KB)



This study of the financing for promoting literacy in Senegal aims to provide a summary of the available reports on this question in order to:

-Compare the costs of different programmes implemented in Senegal.

-Make recommendations for the calculation of the cost of a national programme, providing quality whilst remaining within the country’s capacities.

-Draw conclusions for planning the LIFE initiative and developing a regional strategy for the UNLD.

Download: Case study: the costs and financing for reducing illiteracy in Senegal (PDF 412KB)


The fourth policy brief in the UIL series recommends youth engagement in multipurpose community learning spaces and centres. The aim is to improve their access to full participation in learning and community development activities. It is based on discussions from the International Policy Forum on Literacy and Life Skills Education for Vulnerable Youth through Community Learning Centres held on 20 – 22 August 2013 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Policy Brief 4 is built on the second policy brief published by UIL, Youth Matters: Equipping Vulnerable Young People with Literacy and Life Skills.

UIL Policy Brief 4 Community Matters: Fulfilling Learning Potentials for Young Men and Women describes features of community learning centres, which have different names in local languages across world regions. Furthermore, it illustrates how community learning centres from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Japan, Mongolia, Thailand, and the United Kingdom engage young men and women in the planning and implementation processes.


Community Matters: Fulfilling Learning Potentials for Young Men and Women (PDF 0.3 MB)


Local communities have an indispensable role to play in supporting people’s learning and development and in creating societies that are engaged, inclusive and sustainable. Community-based learning strengthens bonds across generations, promotes agency and self-reliance, and fosters social cohesion, thus encouraging active citizenship and a sense of ownership of a community’s future. Moreover, it enables the exchange of information and the development of skills necessary in tackling the challenges of today’s rapidly changing world, ultimately contributing in a very significant way to sustainable development at local level.

To stress to policymakers and other stakeholders the wide and far-reaching benefits of community-based learning, particularly in the light of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) has published a new policy brief, Community-based learning for sustainable development. This policy brief, co-published with the Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development, advances six principles of action to develop the role of community learning centres (CLCs) as the main delivery mechanism for community-based learning: responding, engaging, enabling, embedding, sustaining and transforming. Furthermore, to allow CLCs to put these principles into practice in a holistic and integrated manner, the paper proposes four policy recommendations for local and national governments to:

  • provide dedicated resources for community-based learning;
  • create mechanisms for partnerships and networking opportunities;
  • organize ongoing capacity-building to ensure well-qualified and trained staff and volunteers;
  • support learning content development.

These action principles and policy recommendations draw on UIL’s 2015 publication, Communities in Action: Lifelong Learning for Sustainable Development, as well as the outcomes of 2014 Kominkan-CLC International Conference on Education for Sustainable Development. This policy brief offers a short, practical guide, aimed at policy makers and other stakeholders, to realizing the potential of community-based learning in order to achieve education for sustainable development for all.



CONFINTEA crystallized an idea into an event, and made of an event an agreement between countries, principally by governments wishing to recognize and give impetus to the shifts taking place in the world of adult learning. However, the idea of adult learning, as it is now understood, is so broad and so all encompassing that to try to follow the whole field is to miss the essentials. How then to monitor the follow-up to CONFINTEA in its entirety when the field is so vast?

Download: CONFINTEA follow-up report to the General Conference of UNESCO, November 1999 (PDF 224 KB)

The following report is the outcome of a study commissioned by the UNESCO Institute for Education in Hamburg, Germany, within the framework of its ‘International Survey on Adult Education for Indigenous Peoples’, carried out in 15 countries worldwide. In Bolivia’s case, the study was headed by a team from the Master’s Programme in Intercultural Bilingual Education (Maestría en Educación Intercultural Bilingüe), which is part of the Training Programme in Intercultural Bilingual Education for the Andean Countries (Programa de Formación en Educación Intercultural Bilingüe para los Países Andinos) at the University of San Simón (Universidad Mayor de San Simón) in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

Download: La Educación de los jóvenes y adultos indígenas en Bolivia: informe final (Education for Indigenous Youth and Adults in Bolivia: Final Report) (PDF 204 KB)

Although they are often overlooked by policymakers, intergenerational approaches to literacy and learning have huge potential across a range of agendas and particularly for disadvantaged and vulnerable families.

Research evidence reveals the considerable benefits of family learning for both children and adults. Fostering a culture of learning within the family can help prevent school failure and drop-out among children while helping parents in ensuring their children are school-ready and supporting them with their homework. The desire of parents to better support their children at school is often a critical motivator for them in re-engaging with learning.

In this way, family learning overcomes the barriers between home, school and community, breaks the intergenerational cycle of low education and literacy skills, and thus helps address the persistent challenges of disadvantage, inequality and exclusion.

To promote family learning, and to inspire and support policymakers in realizing its potential to tackle literacy and other educational challenges faced by disadvantaged families and communities, the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) has published a new policy brief, Engaging Families in Literacy and Learning. Offering an analysis of the values and benefits of family literacy and learning, the policy brief advocates family learning as a holistic strategy to be integrated across early childhood/pre-school/primary education, adult education and community education. This approach shows the transformative power of family learning that can help achieve a range of important targets, across the full spectrum of the Sustainable Development Goals. Further, the policy brief proposes the following five policy recommendations based on an analysis of successful family learning programmes:

  • Use a ‘whole family’ approach to address literacy challenges.
  • Focus on the creation of literate environments.
  • Promote cooperation using flexible funding streams and reporting approaches.
  • Link literacy and learning to other services for disadvantaged families.
  • Use family literacy and learning to break the intergenerational cycle of low education levels.

This policy brief complements the recently launched resource, Learning Together Across Generations: Guideline for Family Literacy and Learning Programmes. Together, they offer critical support to stakeholders in Member States in successfully piloting family literacy and learning programmes and in realizing their very significant, but still largely untapped, potential. For further information or technical support, please contact: uil-lbs@unesco.org.


UIL Policy Brief 9 - Engaging Families in Literacy and Learning

At the Sixth International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VI), which was held in Belém, Brazil, in December 2009, 144 UNESCO Member States, in-cluding 40 from Africa, adopted the Belém Framework for Action, the most recent international policy document seeking to strengthen adult education. The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), in co-operation with the UNESCO Institute for Statistics and UNESCO offices in the different world regions, is coordinating the global monitoring of the follow-up to the Belém Framework for Action.This includes the preparation of the Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE) and the co-organization of regional follow-up activities and meetings.

Download: Final report: Regional Expert Meeting for the Follow-Up of CONFINTEA VI in Africa: Increasing the Participation of Youth and Adults in Learning and Education (PDF 2,21 MB)

“From literacy to lifelong learning” is the great challenge which this Regional Conference poses for us.

In other words, the challenge is to advance from initial literacy – which is the way in which literacy for young people and adults continues to be understood in many countries of the region to a vision and a broader educational provision which includes teaching but also recognizes and validates learning acquired, not only as adults, but also throughout our life: in the family, in the community, at work, through the media, through social participation and by the very exercise of citizenship.

Download: From Literacy to Lifelong Learning: Towards the Challenges of the 21st Century; A Statement from Latin America and the Caribbean (PDF 91,3 KB)