Family and intergenerational literacy and learning in Ethiopia

23 October 2017

Intergenerational learning plays a fundamental role in fostering literacy, lifelong learning and sustainable development. In recognition of this, in 2016 the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) initiated a family literacy and learning project in order to collect and disseminate relevant best practices and support Member States in the implementation of country-specific family literacy and learning programmes. It is in this context that a technical workshop on family literacy and learning was conducted in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 18 to 20 October 2017. The workshop was an initial step for understanding, designing and implementing contextually relevant family and intergenerational learning programmes in Ethiopia which correspond to its context.

The UIL publication entitled Learning Together Across Generations: Guidelines for Family Literacy and Learning Programmes was used as the main training manual for this workshop. During the workshop, the participants learned about the concept of intergenerational learning and acquired practical knowledge on designing and implementing family literacy and learning programmes. Participants also actively engaged in intensive and productive discussions on how to implement this new approach in their own contexts and within existing government educational programmes such as school-based Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) and Integrated Functional Adult Education (IFAE). Plans are under way for each selected school/community learning centre (CLC) to initiate and implement a family literacy and learning programme based on action plans developed during the workshop. UIL will continue to work with the UNESCO Liaison Office in Addis Ababa to provide technical assistance to these partners during the piloting phase of these family literacy and learning programmes.

The workshop was co-organised by the Ministry of Education of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the UNESCO Liaison Office in Addis Ababa and UIL [1]. It brought together forty-one participants, including nine education specialists from the Ministry of Education, specifically from the Primary Education Directorate, Curriculum Development and Instruction Directorate, Adult and non-formal Education Directorate, Planning Resource Mobilization Directorate, Teacher and Education Leaders Directorate, Education for Sustainable Development Directorate and the Gender Directorate. Participants also included representatives of Zonal Education Department and District/Wareda Education Offices, professors of higher education institutions, school/CLC directors and adult literacy programme facilitators of three primary schools/CLCs from three selected regions, namely Oromia, Ethiopia’s Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region (SNNPR) and Amhara. Representatives of two international organisations, DVV International and Geneva Global, were also present.

[1] UIL’s family literacy and learning project has received generous financial support from Germany’s Federal Foreign Office. Upon request, UIL will continue to provide similar technical workshop and further technical assistance to Member States, and sub-Saharan African countries in particular, in piloting family literacy and learning programmes which cater for local needs. Meanwhile, the Guidelines will be further improved and enriched with materials and experiences from piloting countries.