Over 50 participants from 11 Arab States complete capacity-building on alternative, non-formal education in Education Sector Plans

21 December 2021

From 15 September to 30 November 2021, 51 participants from 11 Arab States took part in capacity-building training to strengthen alternative and non-formal education for youth and adults (ANFE) in education sector plans (ESPs). The training was provided by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) together with the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) and the UNESCO Beirut Office. Training was available for the first time in Arabic thanks to the financial support of the Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Foundation as part of the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud Programme to strengthen and improve the use of the Arabic language in UNESCO.

Participants – among them representatives of ministries of education and of a specialized institute in education quality, researchers and adult learning experts – acquired practical knowledge and skills to develop gender-responsive and inclusive non-formal education strategies and plans as an integral part of national sector-wide education plans. Particular focus was placed on the challenges of non-formal education in the Arab States and the needs of Arab learners, in particular women, and marginalized and disadvantaged youth and adults.

Discussions during the course underlined that, despite previous efforts, policies and programmes require further investment to enhance ANFE in the Arab States. Many participants claimed that non-formal education still suffers from a lack of quality, funding and appropriate governance mechanisms. Despite the socio-economic and political disparities among the participating Arab countries, the general consensus was that there is a need to advance literacy skills for youth and adults; narrow the gender gap in education; provide inclusive learning opportunities for internally displaced persons (IDPs), migrants and refugees; and upskill and reskill workers throughout their lives. Enhancement of education systems’ ability to respond to emergencies such as the current COVID-19 pandemic and greater effort towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education and lifelong learning were furthermore called for.

In the follow-up to the course, participants will work on implementing the strategies that they developed and leveraging analysis in their respective countries, namely Algeria, Egypt, Kuwait, Libya, Mauritania, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.


Participants’ testimonies

Ms Hanan Ahmed Hamad, Director of the Follow-Up and Quality Assurance Office at the General Center for Training and Development, Ministry of Education in Libya

‘The course on strengthening ANFE in education sector plans was a great experience. I benefited greatly from both personally and professionally. Moreover, the course was rich with content and useful information. The course trainers were highly qualified, professional and experienced in the field.

‘The topics that were being discussed on the platform and the group assignments played a vital role in helping us to focus on the important aspects in our analysis and planning.

‘I would like to thank UNESCO for this course, and we hope that such valuable courses will be continued.’

The national team of Algeria
Mr Kamal Kharboush, Director of the National Office for Literacy and Adult Education, Ministry of National Education; Mr Bouaziz Mohamed, Director of the National Office for Distance Education and Training, Ministry of National Education

‘Because of rich content and interactive modality, the course was an important event in our career path. It allowed us to share knowledge and experiences with our counterparts from other Arab countries. It also enabled us to obtain skills and capabilities which contributed to embedding the practical and theoretical principles for developing education sector plans that promote alternative non-formal education in Algeria. We are grateful to all those in charge of this training course.’

Ms Nabyla Ahmed Dada, Director General of Women, Adult Education Authority, Yemen

‘This course is the first training course in my field of specialization since I obtained a master’s degree in adult education in 2008. I came away from this course with an enormous amount of information, ideas and visions that are relevant to my field of work. During three months of serious and systematic work with an experienced cadre, we have reached remarkable outputs.’

Mr Ashour Al-Amry, Head of the General Authority for Adult Education in Egypt

‘The course is important for all of those responsible for adult education programmes in Egypt. It developed and refined our skills and practical knowledge. The outputs of this course will be included in the future adult education plan in Egypt, to extend the programmes for non-formal alternative education to reach out the poorest and most disadvantaged areas.’


Ms Fatima Al Malek, Continuing Education Manager, Ministry of Education, United Arab Emirates

‘I extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to the course team. The selection of the instructors as well as the materials had a positive impact on enriching the information and reinforcing my skills. The interactive approach helped the participants to exchange opinions and ideas.’