Editorial

A glance at the cover of the last issue of this journal will show some continuity. Education for All is once again the focus: last time, the preparation, and now the report on the World Education Forum in Dakar. The Forum is over, but a new Framework for Action, replacing the Framework agreed in Jomtien ten years ago and valid until 2015, continues its message. Whether we meet the targets set in it will depend on many factors, including us adult educators. The editors of this journal believe that it is important to present and analyse the major documents. We are devoting quite some space to this so that those of our readers who do not have access to the Internet or cannot otherwise obtain the papers may use them in their work.

We are grateful to Dr Josef Müller, co-editor of the section on Education for All in this issue, who has kept the IIZ/DVV informed about developments in this field and has guided our discussions. For many years he was the professional staff member of the German Foundation for International Development (DSE) responsible for basic education, and he was therefore fated to be called back out of retirement for a while. He well remembers Jomtien, at which he was present.

The IIZ/DVV finds the matter of such importance that we are extending the discussion to Germany also: alongside English, French and Spanish editions of Adult Education and Development, we are publishing the papers in German in our series “Internationale Perspektiven der Erwachsenenbildung” (International Perspectives on Adult Education). By disseminating these four publications we aim to contribute to the spread of information and to raise political awareness – in Germany, Europe and worldwide. It will be important to translate the demand for Education for All into concrete activities. This means initial and inservice training, media and materials, research and evaluation, advice and learning, all of which are fields of international cooperation pursued by the IIZ/DVV. We shall therefore have to confront our existing funding bodies in Bonn, Berlin and Brussels with the need for them to make a commitment. We shall also approach other donors to try to persuade them to invest in this field, which is worthwhile for the sake of the people concerned, and in political and economic terms. I do not know whether many of the 1500 participants in Dakar had the same impression as I, that the most convincing speech was given by the President of the World Bank – at a World Forum on Education!

The other main theme of the last issue was globalisation, development and adult education. But is this really so different? Education for All is surely a global concern, to be addressed through global action, although this does not exclude local action and national planning, which are prerequisites. I am increasingly aware that the pace of globalisation is accelerating, and that the phenomenon is spreading. There is nothing we can do to stop it or to avoid it, let alone to reject it. It must therefore be influenced. But how and by whom? Who can play the role of global players on behalf of Education for All and adult education? Who has the innovative ideas, the creative organizing ability, the staffing and the funds to tackle this task participatorily and cooperatively, and yet to give a lead? We hope that UNESCO will give some powerful pointers, especially for adult education.

Will the International Council for Adult Education (ICAE) be able to take on this role in the near future on behalf of the NGOs? It is hard to see beyond the efforts which it needs to make to overcome its own profound and far-reaching crisis. The national adult education organizations and the regional associations will need to support this process. One indication of willingness to respond to the new challenges is the declaration presented here that was adopted in late September 2000 in Damascus, Syria. We can also look forward to the World Assembly of the ICAE (www.web.net/icae) to be held next year in Jamaica, where these issues will have to be addressed.

Education for All refers not only, although chiefly, to basic education. It also embraces literacy, the topic most frequently treated in this journal. A content analysis of all issues to date should perhaps be drawn up. It might show that every issue so far has contained statements about the theory and practice of literacy. This issue is no exception. We are happy to be able to report on activities in Guinea, a country that has barely been touched on in the past – there is no need of a content analysis for this contribution. Colleagues in other countries that have received little coverage will perhaps take this as encouragement to share their experiences with readers through this journal.

The final theme in this issue may seem at first sight to be far removed from basic education, but it is not. Who should provide the initial and inservice training for those who plan, organize, administer and teach in basic education? Who can contribute research and evaluation skills? Colleagues in universities surely belong to the community of intellectuals who can ensure, together with educational policy-makers and researchers, that we have the policies, legislative frameworks and funding that we need to operate. We therefore return to our aim of encouraging discussion of the future role of universities in adult education and therefore, indirectly, in the implementation of Education for All.

We plan to explore this question further in the next issue, partly through contributions to the conference held this October in South Africa on Lifelong Learning, Higher Education and Active Citizenship. The background document, “Transforming the University of Western Cape into a Lifelong Learning Institution” may perhaps be of lasting significance. Colleagues from a number of African universities with which the IIZ/DVV has links through a scholarship programme will meet on the fringes of the conference. They will consider how the far-reaching recommendations (see Paul Fordham in issue 51/1998 of this journal) on the further development of the project for initial and inservice training of adult educators in Africa can make greater use of electronic communications in materials production, graduate follow-up studies and other fields.

One further piece of in-house news: this issue will for the first time exceed the figure of 22,000 copies. Furthermore, we are placing sections of the journal on the Internet (www.iiz-dvv.de) as part of the information about the work of the Institute. Although we cannot yet know how things will develop in the future, we suspect that the journal will nonetheless continue to be produced in paper form for a long
time to come in order to reach1our large number of readers without computers.

Heribert Hinzen