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With UIL support, six countries develop their education systems from a lifelong learning perspective

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© UNESCO
11 May 2021

On 21 and 22 April 2021, the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) brought together representatives of six UNESCO Member States – Cambodia, Kenya, Namibia, the People’s Republic of China, the Philippines and Viet Nam – to discuss the development of education systems from a lifelong learning perspective. The online meeting built on previous capacity-building workshops by UIL and Shanghai Open University (SOU) in 2018 and 2019 and showed impressive progress in advancing national policies and lifelong learning implementation strategies despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The follow-up meeting was organized to provide country teams with the opportunity to share their progress, exchange ways to overcome the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and reinvigorate the process of making lifelong learning a reality in UNESCO Member States. One delegate, Mr Mok Sarom, Deputy Director General of Education in Cambodia’s Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, commented:

“Experiences from the UIL meeting on lifelong learning helped me understand and appreciate systematic educational differences and increase my professional awareness. Indirectly, my work will increase the number of youth and adults with strong literacy, numeracy and soft-skills, combined with technical and vocational skills, for employment and entrepreneurship in the Kingdom of Cambodia.”

Presentations showed that several themes were key to all participating countries, such as the development of national qualifications frameworks and the recognition, validation and accreditation (RVA) of learning outcomes, the building of learning territories (including learning cities), the provision of lifelong learning through community learning centres, the strengthening of advocacy for and understanding of lifelong learning, and the inter-governmental and sub-national coordination of lifelong learning. UIL shared recent and current projects linked to these cross-cutting themes and SOU described how it has continued to provide lifelong learning opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

By the conclusion of the meeting, representatives of the six countries had planned a series of priority actions to further the development of their education systems from a lifelong learning perspective. Mr Li Jiacheng, Deputy Director of the Shanghai Municipal Institute for Lifelong Education in the People’s Republic of China, said:

“It is very exciting listening to, talking with, and working with the colleagues from UIL and different countries! As lifelong learning is so important for human being, we need to work together with the belief of making learning a reality.”

UIL will support the countries’ priority actions in the coming months. In November 2021, the series of capacity-building workshops will continue with the third instalment, again co-organized by UIL and SOU. It will take place online.