Below is the ,,Design for Action" adopted at the first ICAE World Assembly in Dar es Salam in 1976 by over 500 participants. The text is reprinted from „ Adult Learning: A Design for Action: A Comprehensive International Survey", edited by B.LHall and J.R. Kidd, Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1978, pp. 283-315.

Adult Learning: A Design for Action

A programme of action resulting from the plenary sessions, working groups and regional seminars held at the time of the International Conference on Adult Education and Development. It is the action counterpart of the Address by President Nyerere, "Development is For Man, By Man, and Of Man".


The Design for Action presents the practical and immediate steps for the next five years that were formulated in 20 working groups and approved by the more than 500 delegates representing some 80 countries at the International Conference on Adult Education and Development held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in July 1976. It stands as the action counterpart of the statement by President Nyerere of Tanzania on the goals of adult education and development, which was unanimously accepted by the Conference as the Declaration of Dar es Salaam.

The Design outlines actions and programmes; it is an inventory of the essential steps that must be taken to give substance to the decisions of planners, politicians, and educators. It is put forward by the adult education community as a compact of commitment to the urgent needs for adult education all over the world. The time schedule is five years.

The document is not unique in its proposals. The intent is to bring together and sharpen the focus of concepts, needs, and actions on which there has been emerging global consensus. Thus, while the Design sets out the conditions and actions necessary to strengthen and mobilize the capabilities of adult education for development that were recommended at the Dar es Salaam Conference, it also draws on a number of recent international documents such as the Declaration of Persepolis from the International Symposium for Literacy, the UNESCO Recommendation on the Development of Adult Education, the Framework for a Comprehensive Policy of Adult Education by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and various conventions and recommendations by the International Labour Organization concerning workers' education. Some of the proposals arise from projects or meetings associated with intergovernmental organizations and have also been the theme of regional meetings in the Arab States, in Africa, in Asia, and in Latin America.

International conferences in the past few years have alerted the conscience of the world community to such critical human problems as food, population, environment and equitable economic policies. The Design supplies the adult education component and learning dimension that must accompany every economic, social or political change if the human condition is to be secured.

To establish the framework, to clarify planning and to identify the responsibilities of and environments for action, the Design is presented in four sections. The first introduces the general directions. The second centres on organization: action through intergovernmental and international non-governmental organizations, through nations, regions and institutions. The third is directed to proposals concerning the process of learning: research, training, content, particular needs, media and communication. The fourth is a brief statement of a commitment to ensure that recommendations are implemented.

Main Emphases of the Design

Certain emphases recur throughout the Design for Action and form the central focus of its recommendations. These include:

  1. the educative dimension of all strategies for economic, social, cultural and political development;
  2. participation of the people in decisions;
  3. policies responsive to basic human needs;
  4. implementation of the UNESCO Recommendation on the Development of Adult Education;
  5. regional and national organizations to develop adult education capacity;
  6. action to assist countries least developed in adult education;
  7. training for adult education through regional centres;
  8. accent on particularly deprived groups in society: women, illiterates, peasants, migrants;
  9. research that emphasizes participatory methods of investigation and evaluation;
  10. integrated rural development;
  11. workers' education for those in the rural sector;
  12. promotion of and respect for indigenous cultures;
  13. adult education content concerned with development issues of food, health, environment.

General Directions

The Design for Action recognizes that general directions for cooperative action and programmes of education for development should be as varied as the needs and cultural backgrounds of human beings. Nothing proposed interferes with the responsibilities of governments or institutions in providing educational programmes for their citizens. The initial step is to achieve agreement about the process and the sharing of experiences and resources so that responsible action is possible particularly in countries or regions where development has been impeded.

This does not mean the advocacy of some generalized and homogenized "curriculum" contrived through compromise or that ignores cultural or political differences. Action should build upon a wealth of cultural contributions: strategies for development should contribute to the creation and understanding of, and respect for, the diversity of customs and cultures.

Development means justice, freedom

The objective of integrated, balanced development is to achieve social, economic and political justice that leads to the liberation of mankind and in so doing eradicates such scourges as mass poverty and mass illiteracy. The existing strategies, in a large number of countries, have failed in this objective and have served to strengthen the structure of privilege and power. Adult educators, in cooperation with others concerned with social justice, should engage in a continuous critique of development strategies so that failures are eliminated and equitable conditions obtained.

The political process

An emergent consensus, and one that was stated clearly and accepted at the Dar es Salaam Conference, is that balanced development calls for major national and international structural changes that are not only technical or economic or educational concerns but are rooted in political decisions. For if the quality of human life determines the goals, it is the political process and the exercise of political options that will define the means and set the pace for development.

Adult education - which encompasses the human, educative and political dimensions of society - can prepare the ground within countries and between countries for the hard political decisions that have to be made, as well as acting as an instrument of popular participation so that such decisions are not manipulative and elitist but humanizing, egalitarian and liberating. Transformations of political and socio-economic structures may not be acceptable to all countries or establishments, but for many adult educators the fight for education for development centred on humanity, on liberation, on participation, and on justice must still be carried out even while acknowledging the limitations and impediments encountered.

Participation crucial to development

It is increasingly clear that participation of the total society is crucial to development. It is equally clear that participation can be distorted, such as when the learner becomes an object not a partner, and when education is used to pacify or neutralize rather than as a process of consciousness-raising, participation and change. Since participation is a political process, in that it includes involvement and the exercise of options, adult education has a major function to identify and implement those processes of participation and those forms of consensus that make political, social and economic structures responsive to, and based on, human needs and aspirations.

Adult education can be a powerful factor in sensitizing individuals, groups, and communities - particularly the least privileged - to their role as self-reliant participants. The Declaration of Persepolis identified literacy not as a mere skill process but as a contribution to the "liberation of man and to his full development". The most favourable structures include those that "tend to bring about the effective participation of every citizen in decision-making at all levels of social life: in economics, politics and culture".

Leaders, administrators and policy-makers are urged to acknowledge and act upon the understanding that participation is not only necessary but welcome - and to trust it. They are to seek ways to participate more deeply themselves in the lives of the people and to see this process as essential to their own education and to their effectiveness as leaders. Thus, both policy-makers and the people they serve should be assisted to establish a participatory dialogue for planning, implementation, and assessment of results.

Integrated development strategies

The contending education dimension of all development strategies should be included in development programmes of governments, ministries, and international agencies and be incorporated into national policies The condition of women must be an integral part of policies and strategies. Some of the most critical indicators of under-development relating to health, education and economic opportunities apply predominantly to the women of the developing world. The essential elements of new development strategies should include:

  • orientation toward basic human needs so that goals, institutions and processes are revised to ensure that adult education is a more central component of development;
  • social and political processes of participation that lead to an increasingly egalitarian and cooperative society;
  • structures that provide and maintain productive work;
  • infrastructures that enable individuals to effect control over and change their lives and their environment;
  • decentralized production systems geared to goods and services needed by the majority of the population;
  • an educational dimension that animates, guides, and appraises the process and the results.

Adult educators should take a lead in interacting with decision-makers and technical planners to identify, evaluate and implement such strategies.

Environments for Action: Organization

1. Action through International Cooperation and Assistance

International collaborative action, essential to the global dimensions of development, can take place through a variety of channels: intergovernmental organizations, international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and many national and regional organizations.

Conditions for assistance

It is recognized that much international assistance in the past has had consequences deeply detrimental to the interests of developing countries. International cooperation should be encouraged only if and when it is truly cooperative and results in balanced development based on self-reliance and shared resources. A priority for international assistance should be adult education programmes that contribute to development by the following means:

  • assisting in the building up or strengthening of national systems and structures of education that benefit all people;
  • primarily using indigenous personnel and resulting in the training of such personnel;
  • supporting indigenous cultures and leading to the growth of self-reliance.

Programmes of adult education for development have rarely been supported with international assistance funds. There are exceptions, such as the Experimental World Literacy Programme, but in the main the record is one of neglect. There are several reasons; negative reasons which must now be turned into positive action:

  • governments in few countries have assessed adult education as of high priority in their development goals or in their requests for funds;
  • few persons who make decisions about social programmes within countries or in international assistance agencies understand the significance and impact of adult education in fostering development;
  • adult education organizations and personnel have not been successful in developing strategies that result in assistance funds.

To the extent that international assistance funds are required, and can be used effectively, better strategies for obtaining them must be employed.

Specific fields

Education for development often can be fostered through international cooperation related to specific fields or special targets.

For example, while the Experimental World Literacy Programme had mixed achievements and never equalled some of its aspirations, this product of international cooperation between two intergovernmental organizations (UNESCO and UNDP) and touching many countries, did have an impact on development and has produced valuable "lessons learned" that can now be applied generally.

The achievements in some countries during International Women's Year respecting the education of women and the charting of policies and actions to achieve equality is another example and one that must be carried further.

There are encouraging examples where concerted international action, such as for workers' education, rural self-help projects, and managerial and technical training for rural men and women, have resulted in human development achievements as well as the attainment of specific project goals.

The present and future "paper famine" which does and will seriously jeopardize educational and development goals (such as for post-literacy materials) is an area demanding cooperative effort. International action is needed to obtain access for all countries to stocks from major paper-producing countries and also, most importantly, to initiate research into the use of indigenous fibres.

International cooperation can serve as an educative forum for worldwide understanding of the contribution of different cultures to world development and to national development. Adult education should contribute to respect for the diversity of customs, cultures and languages, both internationally and nationally. The cultural heritage of regions and peoples should find expression in education for development.

UNESCO Recommendation

An immediate focus for international action by countries and by adult educators is the UNESCO Recommendation on the Development of Adult Education which is an example of the normative and standard-setting function of international cooperation. The Recommendation is realistic about objectives and the resources needed to attain them; it does not chain governments to false expectations or costly innovations. It is a human-centred document because its implementation depends upon the initiative and participation of many people, notably adult educators. The regular reports by governments on their actions to implement the Recommendation opens up opportunities for study and public debate on performance respecting adult education for development.

2. Action through and in Support of Intergovernmental Organizations

Several kinds of international collaborative efforts are needed during the balance of the Second Development Decade through intergovernmental organizations that have direct interest in adult education for development, including UNESCO, ILO, FAO, WHO, UNICEF, UNEP, UNOP, World Bank, the United Nations University and the programme of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Adult educators, their organizations and agencies need to keep themselves informed about, and involved with, the plans and programmes of intergovernmental organizations whose strategies contribute to, and strengthen, education for development.

Initiatives for action

In order to take effective action through and in support of intergovernmental organizations, as well as NGOs, adult education organizations in every country should:

  • take the initiative in fostering national plans for the implementation and monitoring of their governments' action regarding the UNESCO Recommendation on the Development of Adult Education;
  • develop systematic means and programmes for interpreting the significance of adult education to decision-makers in national, regional and intergovernmental roles, as well as to the public, and specific audiences within the general population;
  • become proficient in developing realistic proposals for international assistance through all effective channels, but particularly through "country programmes" of intergovernmental agencies;
  • initiate and/or support education measures that lead to the understanding of, and cooperation with, the development goals of programmes of such intergovernmental agencies as ILO, WHO, FAO;
  • ensure that educational and development national policies contain provision for workers' education that includes direct participation of urban and rural workers' organizations.

For funding agencies

It is recommended that funding agencies concerned with international development assistance give priority to programmes that:

  • develop a strong adult education infrastructure, particularly in countries where adult education is least developed;
  • identify levels of training and self-help needs in terms of competence, management, delivery, and evaluation;
  • assist workers' organizations now actively engaged in the organization and development of the rural poor;
  • make direct provision for the equal integration of women into social and economic development;
  • help the public to understand the momentous issues of the New International Economic Order and of environmental education for survival.

Issues relating to these and other priorities are contained in further sections of the Design.

3. Action through and in Support of International NGOs

Many of the major programmes in adult education in the future will involve cooperative projects such as the UNESCO-UNDP Experimental World Literacy Project or the involvement of ILO in workers' education which features literacy for rural workers. The participation of strong international NGOs should be a part of programmes of intergovernmental agencies particularly to build up a system and infrastructure for adult education and to foster programmes of education for development within and through these organizations.

Variety of support

There are many non-governmental organizations concerned with adult education for development and whose experiences and services can be used more directly. They operate in such fields as community colleges, universities, women's education, rural development, cooperatives, libraries and museums, educational technologies, publishing and broadcasting.

Recognizing the need for an integrated approach in solving the problems facing practising adult educators and the fact of limited financial and manpower resources, it is recommended to all organized teaching and other professional organizations that they lend their support to adult and continuing education activities within their country and region.

Enlarged role for NGOs

Because of their international membership network, NGOs should be encouraged and supported for an enlarged role in the provision of experienced personnel, the monitoring of projects, and the production and dissemination of information.

For example, a precondition of new development strategies and programmes, particularly for integrated rural development, is knowledge of the experiences - successes and failures - of similar or related programmes elsewhere. International NGOs can play a major role in identifying and disseminating such information to national policymakers.

The regional centres and offices of international NGOs can similarly serve policy needs through inventories of projects, innovations and research as well as provide indigenous personnel for project teams to develop regional training facilities, evaluate new programmes and projects and assist with the monitoring of such activities.

4. Action through Regional Organizations

The strengthening of regional action through regional and/or area organizations, the establishment of a training centre in each region, and regional sharing of experiences, information and personnel, are among the core recommendations from the Dar es Salaam Conference. Regional organizations for adult education are now established, or under active consideration, in Europe, Africa, Asia, the South Pacific, the Arab States, South America and the "Norceca" countries of North and Central America.

Immediate action needs

How to assist established, newly formed and about-to-be-formed, regional associations to be more effective and to implement, coordinate, and finance regional collaboration is a recommendation for immediate action.

As a practical aim for the balance of the Second Development Decade, the improvement of capabilities for adult education should be proceeded with, particularly in Africa, the Arab States, Asia, the South Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean. In many cases, a regional organization may serve some national needs until it is possible to create national associations. The region can be the locus of such needed common services as training, research and information-sharing.

Regional priorities

Certain priorities for regional organizations have been identified at international and regional conferences:

  • to establish one or more regional training centres to augment national training, using senior staff from the region;
  • the training centres to incorporate research and evaluation components, particularly in methods and practices of participatory research and action research, and related to indigenous cultures;
  • provision of direct assistance to least developed countries or sectors in the region;
  • an effective two-way information and documentation exchange featuring the main languages of the region as well as the international languages. These centres should also use services and materials from UNESCO (particularly the International Bureau of Education), other intergovernmental agencies, and international NGOs;
  • exchange of personnel and informational visits;
  • development of reading materials for new literates.

In any regional organization all the countries should be represented as well as major adult education interests and institutions and groups and agencies involved with development work. A central purpose of the regional organization should be the advancement of education for integrated development, particularly with respect to increase of food production, health, nutrition, poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, and the problems of rural movement to urban centres.

The participation of international assistance agencies should be invited in the provision of experience, materials, funds and personnel, but only through the initiative of the regional organization and under its direction.

Areas for action

Each country in a region should draw up an inventory of its innovative programmes, the areas where its adult education is strongest, and the areas in which it seeks to improve its performance and to learn from others. For Asia and the South Pacific, an inventory could be based on the survey of non-formal education conducted by the South East Asian Ministers of Education Organization and expanded to include other countries.

The establishment of a pilot project in integrated rural development in each country of a region is also recommended. This would lead to an overall plan of action for the integration of adult education into solutions to various regional problems.

One or more specific projects or studies should be designed within each regional grouping to explore how the efforts of adult education may be adopted and refashioned to serve the growing and urgent need to see the total community as a true learning base and to integrate learning into every phase of life. The International Council for Adult Education should foster and animate such projects, monitor them, and publish the results.

The evidence of closer cooperation among countries of the regions, and between regions and international organizations, is commended. Governments are urged to endorse such actions and make adequate financial contributions towards their realization. A specific recommendation urges the strengthening of existing pan-Arab and regional institutions such as ARLO and ASFEC, national adult education institutions and UNESCO national commissions; the establishment of a regional adult education research and training centre; and support for the formation of an Arab Adult Education Association.

5. Action through Nations and National Organizations

It has been recognized at the UNESCO World Conference on Adult Education at Tokyo that adult education cannot and will not flourish unless in each country there is a commitment to it, a national infrastructure for stimulus and coordination, and the cultivation of cadres of trained and experienced personnel to sustain and enlarge it. Without these essential factors neither adult education as a field nor adult education for development will have much chance to be effective.

Agreement on needed structures

National meetings and international seminars, and the UNESCO Recommendation on the Development of Adult Education, make it clear that coordinating structures, actions and programmes are needed in every country and that these be considered a basic investment if adult education is to become an active agent in development. The section on Structures in the UNESCO Recommendation begins with this statement:

"Members States should endeavour to ensure the establishment and development of a network of bodies meeting the needs of adult education; this network should be sufficiently flexible to meet the various personal and social situations and their evolution."

The agreement in the UNESCO Recommendation is that each country should have an appropriate mechanism for bringing together on a regular basis those most responsible for education to determine national commitment, decide on allocation of resources, and design sound policies and coordinated programmes for adult education for development.

Such a coordinating body would involve government departments (such as health, agriculture, economic production, cultural services, education); universities and colleges; organizations with workers, rural development, trade unions, women, the aging, ethnic minorities, managers and employers, professional personnel, broadcasters and publishers.

Realistic target for action

A realistic target for the balance of the Second Development Decade is to assist every country that is willing to cooperate in developing the means to:

  • stimulate and coordinate adult education nationally;
  • hold regular national meetings for establishing targets and programmes of education for development;
  • establish and maintain a system of information exchange;
  • plan an appropriate infrastructure;
  • initiate training and research;
  • develop indigenous studies, languages and cultural expression.

Persons who have had successful experience in developing such policies are still few in number and their experience should be shared with other countries. An important objective for the next five years is the recruitment and training of such persons.

Action for national associations

Adult educators are urged to work in association with governments, wherever appropriate, for the establishment or strengthening of national associations/boards and other adult education coordinating organizations so that they become cooperative agencies for promoting and implementing development issues and programmes.

It is through an adult education association that educators can develop systematic efforts to make government planners aware that the goals of adult education and of workers' education are in keeping with the goals of integrated, balanced development. By such means adult education can strengthen its formal and informal linkages with agencies and ministries responsible for development.

National associations should recognize the significance of workers' education and equip themselves to respond to, and cooperate with, programme needs identified by workers' organizations and cooperatives.

It is also recommended that respective national associations in each region investigate and cooperate on activities now underway to refashion the formal school system so that work and service may become a part of the general curriculum and thereby enable youth to participate in the concepts and practices of development, self-reliance, social participation, and lifelong learning.

Improvement of training

A priority for national associations is to work together for improvement in the quality, type and accessibility of both long-term and short-term adult education training for women and men.

Short workshops could focus on effective adult learning and teaching to groups of full-time adult education organizers who are in a position to disseminate their learning to teachers of adults. In some cases, a resource team may travel to one country in the sub-region to take a course; in other cases, a course may be held in a central location so that educators from neighbouring countries can attend.

Other recommendations related to training are contained in following sections of this document such as Action through Institutions, Recruitment and Training of Personnel, and Research and Development.

Regional action for national associations

While every country will need to plan for appropriate training and research as well as for an adult education infrastructure, as indicated earlier, some of these essential services may be provided in part, at least temporarily, through regional, national and international cooperation.

It is recommended that regional organizations work for the establishment of national adult education associations in countries where they do not exist, wherever possible making an approach through the country's UNESCO national commission.

A practical step is for the regional association to offer to run a workshop in a particular country with the aim of encouraging the formation of a national association. Inter-country visits to innovative projects can strengthen national and regional associations and result in the publishing of case study inventories on such projects. International agencies and NGOs should see funding assistance as a priority for improving the capability of adult education associations and their cooperation.

Action through governments

Fundamental to all discussion on adult education for development is the need for governments to express in concrete terms their political and moral commitment to adult education as an integral part of overall national goals and objectives. This can be accomplished by the following measures:

  • defining the concept of education for development with full knowledge of how adult education can play an appropriate role by integrating its services and resources into national development plans;
  • ensuring that the central focus of development is on human development and on real-life problems identified and faced by individuals and communities;
  • creating an atmosphere favourable to the participation of individuals and groups - including leaders at national and local levels - in the planning and execution of development programmes;
  • integrating adult education and non-formal education with the formal system in order to revitalize the total educational system and strengthen its orientation toward development;
  • fostering the establishment of appropriate coordinating adult education infrastructures that will reflect the multidisciplinary nature of adult education and thus provide a holistic view of national needs and priorities;
  • reviewing the methods of financing adult education so that budget allocations are increased to such ministries and agencies;
  • committing development and education policies toward the achievement of self-determination for women.

It is recommended that governments recognize, encourage and support the work of international NGOs engaged in adult education and development such as the International Council for Adult Education.

A wide range of useful adult education expertise exists among the membership of NGOs and within consultative bodies such as UNESCO and its national commissions. Governments and associations should avail themselves of such liaison in the planning and implementing of development policies.

Action for literacy

Governments should pledge themselves to literacy as an integral part of national programmes and involve illiterates themselves in the formation of such plans.

As far as possible, the functions and responsibilities of literacy and/or adult education programmes and the organization and training of personnel should be located within one national coordinating body with the help of various ministries or organizations concerned in order to minimize competition for funds and reduce inefficiency in implementation.

The recognition of literacy as a primary medium for social, economic and political development means that increased budgetary allocations are essential. It also means the design of comprehensive and multi-disciplinary programmes that provide for post-literacy projects and access to further education and training.

Culture and development

Governments should become more aware that a vigorous overall cultural policy is necessary to direct and regulate the future of education for development and that development must have a functional relationship to cultural traditions, customs and languages of groups and sub-groups within a country. Linguistic and cultural diversity should be seen as a rich resource rather than as a threat to unity.

Costs and funding

In view of the burden of educational costs on national budgets, and while pointing out that adult education is a relatively low-cost component of education, certain recommendations are made for the reduction of educational costs through:

  • use of locally available materials, resources, and skills;
  • mobilization of available voluntary and part-time personnel;
  • ensuring that para-state and private enterprise take due responsibility for the education and training of their workers;
  • fuller use for adult, workers' and non-formal education of existing physical facilities, such as schools, community halls, churches, temples and mosques.

Participation of learners

Development programmes must be based on the principle of participation from pre-planning through to evaluation, thus creating an opportunity for every participant to be both a teacher and a learner. The involvement of learners in systematic needs assessment and in the evaluation of all publicly funded programmes should be a part of funding priorities.

Workers' participation

Since workers' education is an important and growing sector of adult education, recommendations for workers' participation in development planning are based not only on social justice but also on the greater realism and social content it injects into planning. Emphasis is placed upon the promotion of strong and viable organizations of wage earners and non-wage earning rural workers and their involvement in the planning and implementation of rural development policies and programmes.

Educational and development policies should be so oriented that the education of individual workers can be translated into participatory contributions by their organizations, in line with ILO Recommendation 94 on Consultation and Cooperation Between Employers and Their Role in Economic and Social Development, Convention 140 and Recommendation 148 on Paid Educational Leave.

6. Action through Institutions

There is a conspicuous role in a design for action for every organization and institution of adult education; indeed for every learner. Because circumstances are so varied, plans for institutions must be made by those engaged in the institutions. However, there are steps that must be taken to support the quality and effectiveness of adult education.

Training role

The need for training programmes at regional, national and local levels requires the active involvement of colleges and universities, government departments, professional associations, and trade unions.

Documentation is lacking on the precise nature of existing undergraduate and graduate instruction in adult education offered by universities and similar institutions in various parts of the world. A descriptive inventory of courses and a meeting of such universities could create a "consortium" of expertise and information for the development and coordination of training programmes. Thus, institutions capable of providing training for adult education could be helped to undertake such training and/or to enlarge their efforts.

It is recommended that the training of adult educators for administrative, extension and field work have practical orientation. For example, in addition to training rural extension personnel, universities and colleges of agriculture need to work cooperatively to orient their courses to the practical needs and problems of field workers and to develop workshops and seminars for in-service and refresher training.

Need for new forms of adult education

There is increased recognition that certain countries and regions may lack particular forms of adult education that are specific to their needs, such as literacy, workers' education, rural development, education for women, distance education, etc.

Specific kinds of institutions appropriate for development may also be lacking, such as workers' universities or community colleges. Regional and/or international cooperation can support the development of specific and needed kinds of service institutions and programmes in selected countries.

However, any development of new institutional forms, and their programmes, should be rooted in the context of indigenous cultures and languages and be created with the full participation of the communities and people they are to serve. In some countries the renewal of earlier cultural forms and institutions, such as the mosque universities, can offer examples of admirable community-based learning centres which still have contemporary significance.

So that there may be an education dimension in all development strategies, it is essential to adapt, extend, or establish a variety of institutions and/or agencies which would be:

  • based on identifiable local communities;
  • sensitive to the specific development needs of those communities;
  • a resource for local leadership recruitment and training;
  • an agent for the conservation and promotion of local cultural heritages;
  • committed to the education of women;
  • part of a network for coordinated research and evaluation, documentation, and dissemination of information and materials on adult education.

The contribution of workers' organizations to social and economic justice needs to be more widely recognized by education ministries to ensure that all institutions - schools, teachers' colleges, polytechnics, adult education centres, universities and colleges - include labour studies in the curricula and that workers' organizations are adequately represented on governing bodies and/or advisory councils.

The role of adult education for development needs continual interpretation to general and specific publics. The institutions of adult education can individually and collectively supply much of the infrastructure by ensuring that their collections of print and other media are accessible and well-distributed and that such information sources as cinema, radio and television, libraries, museums and art galleries are organized for the support of learning, particularly learning associated with development.

Environments for Action: The Learning Process

1. Research and Development

Research for the development of adult education as well as for education for development is a crucial need in most countries. Emphasis should be given to those kinds of research that will assist decision-makers and result in improved performance over the next five years. This is not to question the value of long-range research but only to recognize that agencies and institutions already exist for long-range tasks and that research directed to informed decision-making is infrequent and usually ineffective.

Research to be participatory in nature

Research should be recognized as an integral part of adult education for development and be participatory in nature. All those taking part can be involved in the necessary research - learners, educators, planners, administrators, specialists. Participatory research thus becomes a system of continuing discussion and investigation conceived and organized to result in direct benefit.

Further principles of participatory research are that the research process should (a) involve the community or population from formulation of the problem to discussion of solutions and interpretations of the findings; (b) be seen as a total educational experience which serves to identify community needs and to increase awareness and communication within the community; (c) be a continuing dialogue over time, not an isolated exercise; (d) be of immediate benefit to a community and to decision-makers.

Training in research

All adult educators should receive training in the theory and practice of participatory research as well as in complementary quantitative research techniques. This training should be carried out preferably in the field with appropriate support from nearby institutions. For the new emphasis on participatory methods of social investigation, training manuals and materials need to be devised. International and regional seminars are necessary to evaluate and consolidate the best uses of participatory research and to further exchange of information and experiences.

Cooperative linkages

The development of self-reliant capability is a fundamental approach for research in adult education and one that needs broad international exchanges and mutual aid projects to contribute to the variety and effectiveness of research. Encouragement should be given to publications and research information at national and local levels, as well as through international annual or biannual publications on research.

For universities to contribute effectively to research in adult education an essential condition is that they multiply their contacts with other institutions and intensify their participation in ongoing adult education processes and the needs of national and local communities.

Stronger cooperative links are recommended between rural extension and research. Researchers should work on basic agricultural, social and economic problems; carry out field trials; and be able to advise on appropriate technology. Such research programmes should yield suitable results on the use of good economic infrastructures for rural development including pricing, marketing and distribution.

Because of legitimate demands on limited financial resources, research projects, while considered as a priority investment, should be designed with minimum costs and, where applicable, with the cooperation and participation of other agencies and personnel so that adult education can be strengthened and extended as economically as possible.

Among the special objectives of research is the recommendation that these focus on better understanding of traditional and popular means of communication and informal learning (including theatre, dance, music, art) and on how these media can be used to stimulate and enhance learning and participatory development.

2. Recruitment and Training of Personnel

Training programmes are needed at several levels - regional, national and in territories within nations. This will require the active involvement of colleges and universities as well as government departments and such general purpose organizations as trade unions. There are many kinds of personnel who require further training; most of them are in the important "middle management" area such as:

  • those able to carry out education and training programmes for others;
  • those instructing and providing non-formal education;
  • organizers of adult education and training at all levels, including literacy, workers' education, agriculture and rural development, continuing education of managers and professional personnel;
  • planners and decision-makers respecting education and training;
  • managers of "delivery systems" of education in fields such as health, food, nutrition, social and political organization;
  • producers and users of various media programmes, print, oral and visual;
  • library, museum and gallery personnel.

Regional training centres

As indicated in the section on Regional Organizations, the immediate need is for training facilities and programmes to serve those countries that are not yet able to mount the kinds of training required to improve the capability of adult educators in the development process. A cooperative programme of regional training centres is recommended for mutual assistance in regions where there are bonds of culture or ideology or language, or geography and communication, or economic association.

  • In each of the regions (Asia, Africa, Arab States, Latin America) at least one or more training-research centres should be established with indigenous leadership but assisted through international cooperation.
  • These centres should be established, as soon as conditions of effective work are possible, over the next three years. Part of the strategy for these centres should be to have a systematic means of exchange of experience between centres and evaluation of procedures and results.
  • These centres should serve the training needs of many kinds of personnel listed above, and should utilize training experience and services available through governments, universities, unions, management, media.
  • Intergovernmental agencies such as the World Bank and other agencies capable of rendering assistance should be invited to support the work of these centres, particularly efforts concerned with development problems.
  • Institutions capable of providing training for adult education should be involved in regional centres as well as in inter-regional cooperation.
  • Participatory research should be part of the training component with regional seminars planned to build up regional capacities for research that assists education for development.
  • The centres should use existing information services as well as foster development and exchange of materials relating to regional problems, cultures and languages.

What is needed is a training demonstration project to work out the particular kinds of training and relationships of subject matter and disciplines; identify research; obtain financial support; inventory regional resources; and recruit indigenous people from the region who have appropriate experience to serve on the faculty.

Cooperation should be undertaken for training and for research with the United Nations University, the International Congress of University Adult Educators, the community college World College organization, the International Federation of Library Associations, and other interested agencies.

Training for rural development

An urgent problem for adult education at the national and regional level is to increase food production. Training of field workers is essential for the mounting of technical programmes aimed at the small farmer, the marginal farmer, and those in drought-prone areas. Such programmes would help rural men and women in the application of small-scale agriculture technology and management; in the use of fertilizers and pesticides; in benefiting from needed agricultural reforms.

Such rural development training would aim at providing training for self-reliance at the level of individual and community needs. This would include training in small and cottage industries; training of unemployed youth particularly in minimum managerial skills to open up avenues for self-employment; training programmes directly related to the involvement of women in rural extension services and in farmer training programmes.

Particular attention is recommended to the training of rural leaders selected by the community to become village "technicians" or animateurs and the local link with extension agents or other agencies. Short-term training programmes could be provided at a regional centre for village men and women in those areas of need identified by the community, such as child care, nutrition, health, sanitation, building, and technical skills.

To develop a common approach to integrated rural development, extension workers from different specializations should take their training with agricultural personnel.

Training content

All training, particularly for middle management and higher administrative staff in government services, should include a sound knowledge of, and experience in, communication techniques. Training should increase the sensitivity of adult educators themselves and of allied field workers to the problems of the less privileged by both careful selection of personnel and by content and practice that stresses empathy and awareness of the human factors of development.

The training of instructors in literacy programmes, both professional and non-professional, should include techniques of animation and participation, of evaluation for self-correction, and attention to administration and reporting skills.

Training should emphasize the mutual exchange of experiences between the teacher and the "taught" and the development of participatory methods and activities that teach learners how to participate in decision-making.

Recruitment and attitudes

To recruit and provide the necessary organization and teaching personnel to carry out essential development tasks, attention is drawn to the following proposals:

  • mobilize a variety of professionals, para-professionals and volunteers who are usually associated with departments and agencies not primarily concerned with education;
  • use non-formal short-cycle modes of training which are more cost-effective, more flexible and responsive to specific needs, and better carriers of new ideas and innovative practices;
  • establish interdepartmental collaborative programmes in order to train heterogeneous and multi-disciplinary groups that think in terms of the educative aspect of all development strategies;
  • encourage the acceptance by full-time adult educators that other professionals may be better placed to identify key development tasks and objectives; and that, not infrequently, the educational aspect - although not indispensable - will appear in a supportive or instrumental role.

3. The Content of Adult Education

The agenda of adult education must change as the human agenda changes. This agenda now includes the goals of integrated cultural, social and political development, not only efforts to improve economic productivity.

While not denying the interests of individual learners in education for development the Design is concerned primarily with activities that foster improved social performance. To ensure that education is used cooperatively as a major vehicle for progress, adult educators are urged to cooperate with other agencies in defining the role and content of development education and to promote it through mass media, seminars, workshops, etc., at national and local levels.

Range of priorities

When there are scarce resources there must be priorities. The range of priorities for education for development include measures to meet basic human needs; to provide food and to eliminate poverty; to enhance human growth and to diminish marginal survival; to encourage the arts and cultural expression; to maintain and restore environmental quality; to foster world cooperation and communion among people.

No one would pretend that there is complete agreement on all of these subjects. However, these are the concerns that touch on the family of mankind and should be studied as problems of, and opportunities for, all human beings as well as from the more restricted perspectives of national or regional or ideological association.

New curriculum for development

It is now the task of adult educators, with international input, to translate the priorities and imperatives of the world agenda into a new "curriculum" for the formal and non-formal education system, for the learning of all adults in a variety of ways, and for the continuing education of adult educators themselves.

It is recommended that the International Council for Adult Education create a Commission for the New Curriculum to identify those social, political and economic forces and issues that are crucial to development.

Participation skills

Attention is urged to content that emphasizes participation in social development particularly of those who have been disadvantaged and restricted by the alienating force of poverty and illness. Social advance is facilitated, not impeded, by the enlargement of people who are Intelligent, capable, and responsible participants.

Educational programmes are advocated that enhance the power of individuals to participate effectively in the life of their community and nation. In recognizing that participation is both a method and a skill that can be learned, the content of adult education can give a major role to activities that provide ways and means for people to learn how to participate.

Interpretation of world issues

Recommendations emphasize the need for development education that increases people's awareness of the interdependency of world issues and that promotes action on the part of governments, groups and individuals.

Earlier sections of the Design for Action have noted that the role of adult education in and for development needs to be effectively interpreted to governments, teachers, students and the general public. Such materials, using a range of media, can stimulate dialogue on the inter-relationships between national development goals and the imperatives of food, health, cultural expression, scarce resources, the environment, lifelong learning, self-determination, and the implications of the New International Economic Order. Such programmes of interpretation and study can be initiated from national and regional agencies with funding assistance, when applicable, from international intergovernmental organizations.

In keeping with the above, it is recommended that adult educators work more closely with development specialists from other disciplines to increase their own awareness of development issues and to enable other specialists to appreciate the contribution of adult education. In this way, both groups together can plan and carry out more comprehensive and integrated development education programmes.

Education for eco-development

Eco-development means development that takes into account environmental protection and enhancement of ecological systems. Environmental destruction threatens the survival of humankind. The adult education community must respond to this crisis by accepting responsibility for a programme of action that mobilizes public awareness about the realities of environmental issues and the accelerating depletion of the world's resources.

The need exists to facilitate the exchange of ideas, approaches, and programmes by such means as:

  • collecting and exchanging information on environmental education such as UNESCO/UNEP programmes and the Belgrade Charter on Environmental education;
  • assistance to adult educators in developing and implementing programmes related to environmental education;
  • ensuring adult education participation in international and regional conferences on the environment;
  • cooperating and collaborating with UNESCO/UNDP in the adult education and social development components of their proposed pilot projects on eco-development in Tanzania, the Senegal River Basin, Kuwait, the Adriatic, India, and Colombia;
  • instituting a continuing programme of international and regional meetings to mobilize adult education experiences, resources, and programmes for eco-development.

Cultural development

The task of adult education in contributing to endogenous development is to promote, conserve, and use local and indigenous cultures as the content and curricula of its programmes. To revitalize traditional values and systems is not a step backward in time but rather to make sure that new development policies are humanely based in rich, authentic, cultural forms. In promoting knowledge about and appreciation of the history, traditional cultures and artistic values of society, adult education should also ensure that people are encouraged to express their creative abilities so that a flourishing popular culture exists.

Respect for and understanding of the diversity of customs and cultures and languages within nations and regions - as well as internationally - is essential for cooperation, peace and mutual learning. Sub-groups within a society should be able to express themselves freely, educate themselves and their children in their native tongues, develop their own cultural forms, and learn languages other than their native ones.

Adult education leadership is needed in the revitalization of such cultural centres as museums so that they become community learning centres that encourage existing popular cultural expressions as well as communicate the life and creations of the past.

4. Learning Needs of Particular Groups

In view of the importance of development education for raising the consciousness of members of society towards continuing education and social awareness, adult educators are urged to participate in the learning needs of certain groups such as the following.

  • Priority should be given to the provision of financial and administrative support to youth programmes both in urban and rural areas to develop responsible leadership skills and activities that stimulate interest in the cultural life of society, in social and economic concerns, and that give young people a sense of self-worth through service to others.
  • Cooperative relationship with the school system is vital to ensure community learning opportunities for both parents and children.
  • Ongoing contact with administrators and teachers in the formal education system can result in participation in the devising of curricula, teaching methods and techniques that stimulate learning about development education.
  • Traditional practices and attitudes toward women need changing through education directed, in many instances, to men. Since women are the majority of the adult population and constitute the largest percentage of illiterates, it is essential that their consciousness be raised concerning their actual condition and their potentialities for decisive social and economic roles.
  • Adult education organizations should give attention to the educational and other problems of migrant workers and immigrants in their countries. The involvement should not be limited to immediate learning needs such as language courses, vocational training, and schooling of children, but go beyond this into inviting participation in and contribution to general adult education activities.
  • Adult educators should learn more about the implications of urbanization for their work and in particular the role of adult education in assisting urban dwellers to participate in the planning and governance of cities.
  • Some nations have a great diversity of cultures and languages and are faced with the problem of reconciling the needs of development within the preservation of cultural diversity. The role of traditional cultures, and of cultural traditions of immigrants, needs interpretation within the development context.
  • Workers, farmers, peasants, media specialists, trade unions and employers need direction and stimulation in order to develop an appreciation of their role and responsibility in the imperatives of national and international development issues. Rural development education should stress to farmers the importance of environmental conservation, such as of land and water, and its role in immediate and future development.

5. Media and Communication

Any achievement of the objectives of adult education for development depends upon the learning, participation, growth and change of individuals and societies; which in turn depends upon information and two-way communication between individuals and groups and governments and policy-makers. In a sense, all education is communication of information and knowledge and hinges on the access to such communication and participation in it.

Certain recommendations at the Dares Salaam Conference relate to communication in two forms: the use of broadcast and print media and face-to-face communications for specific adult education programmes; and the use of information networks for communication among adult educators themselves.

Communications policy

The emphasis on participation and liberation, which runs all through the recommendations on which the Design for Action is based, prompts proposals for serious study of the control of broadcasting and print media and of the pre-conditions for the use of media in human-centred development such as freedom of expression and legitimate participation and feedback.

National and international agencies are urged to recognize the political pre-conditions for educational policies that foster liberation and that educational media alone cannot achieve results that are in total conflict with the values of the society in which they are used.

International and national agencies must realize that the combination of group learning with broadcast and print material can increase public consciousness of development issues. Therefore, support should be given to such projects especially when they make use of inexpensive technology such as radio.

Questions for mass media

It is recommended that the International Council for Adult Education investigate the issues involved in the control of broadcasting and the kinds of structures which give balance to the interests of the public and of governments.

Some aspects of recommendations are put in question form: Are the media truly in the service of development programmes? Is radio broadcasting really directed to the concerns and conditions of rural people when most broadcasters are urban-oriented and trained abroad? Are mass campaigns really committed to using all forms of communication for two-way participation, communication and evaluation, or are they merely passing "the message" from the top down to the masses?

Recommendations state that such questions be seriously studied at the national level along with the need for coordination of the use of communications media among those involved in development work. National workshops are proposed for development planners, policymakers, educators and communicators to promote and devise a more functional integration of communication, education and research.

In view of the present inadequate coverage of development issues by national mass media agencies, adult educators should create pressures for more and better coverage of national and international issues.

National and international action

Noting that the integrated use of educational media for development has been demonstrated to be highly effective and has enabled education to be accessible to large numbers of people for whom formal education facilities are scarce or not available, it is recommended that governments and international agencies support educational projects for human development that combine the use of broadcasting, print and face-to-face learning.

In order to achieve more effective educational media programmes, governments and adult education agencies are urged to support and participate in structures and policies that ensure adequate coordination between adult education and extension agencies including those run by governments, universities and other non-commercial bodies.

In view of the danger that educational media projects can be used to pacify the poor and widen the gap between the more and less advantaged, it is recommended that the media employ techniques and methods which will allow individuals to become collectively aware of their present condition and the changes that can be brought about, and which emphasize participation, initiative and action.

It is essential that adult educators - and not only technical personnel - be involved in research on the implications for education for development of communication satellites and the use of spin-off technology for under-developed regions of the world.

Media training needs

A pre-condition for the effective and appropriate use of broadcast and print media is national commitment to professional training in specific skills: the training of writers, producers, broadcasters, editors, printers, technical and maintenance personnel. As well, there is the urgent need for the training of field workers in the use of media and in the skills of group leadership.

The necessity of professional media production services to integrate such ingredients as technical hardware, the materials produced and their use and distribution dictates the need for continuing national and regional courses and workshops for adult educators and communications personnel together. The understanding of how these ingredients work is a necessary part of the overall training of administrators, researchers and educators, as the following recommendation indicates.

Mass media, including newspapers, radio and television, should be used to further the aims and objectives of literacy programmes such as by encouraging participation and sustaining motivation, and by assisting instructors and group leaders in the actual learning situation. The reinforcement of knowledge and skills demands more concentrated study and evaluation as to the role of the various educational technologies, publishing of adult literature for neo-literates, fixed or itinerant community libraries, radio discussion clubs, special newspapers and magazines.

Folk culture and development

Traditional and popular communications of cultural values and aspirations form an existing network of "folkmedia" such as songs, dances, festivals, drama, etc., that can act as carriers of new ideas without distorting their authenticity. They can be used along with the electronic and print media to motivate people to learn and to understand the reason for social change. Traditional cultural expressions also disclose the ways in which people have carried on their own learning in an oral culture and thus show how oral methods can be adapted to the teaching of literacy and to non-formal education.

Communication among adult educators

The participation of adult educators in their own continuing education and professional development is a need that echoes through recommendations from national, regional and international meetings. Since adult education has not been widely recognized as a coherent instrument and resource for development in policies of national governments and international organizations and agencies, funding for the necessary communication exchange of information, documentation, and publications and for face-to-face meetings and inter-country visits, has been minimal.

The multi-disciplinary nature of adult education, covering as it does nearly every aspect of human endeavour, finds expression in recommendations for more specific information about, and dissemination of, development issues, projects and innovations relating to research, health, rural development, environmental education, the media, pedagogy, learning theories, training programmes, etc. Many recommendations focus on the desirability of and the need to learn from other countries through publications, newsletters, and inexpensively available research reports and "state of the art" reviews.

Opportunities for operational seminars are also recommended for national and international specialists to work on the requirements for a particular project. There are recommendations for conferences and seminars at local, regional, national and international levels for practitioners of development to:

  • identify practical problems that they face;
  • define the characteristics of the process of aid to development;
  • formulate hypotheses for solutions to their problems and to develop better mastery of the different roles that their work demands of them.

To facilitate cross-cultural understanding and collaborative efforts in adult education development, it is recommended that governments, national and regional associations, NGOs, and international agencies should actively encourage and fund:

  • more effective exchange of regional and international information on adult education research, innovations and action programmes;
  • the regional exchange of practitioners, planners, researchers and adult educators;
  • expanded regional adult education networks for planning and development.

A Commitment

At the conclusion of the Dar es Salaam Conference, Chairman Malcolm Adiseshiah spoke directly of the commitment necessary to ensure that action is taken on recommendations.

I call on each of us to commit himself and herself to action to make adult education an integral instrument for the kind of development - the liberation of Man - to which we have pledged ourselves for the balance of the Second Development Decade. The springs that nourish this pledge are our own will and behind the individual will that each of us brings to the task is the community of adult education to which all of us belong.

In the spirit of this pledge and out of concern that only four years remain in the Second Development Decade, the final statement recommends:

  • that the Design for Action be placed on the agenda for study by all international, regional, national bodies, and by all institutions;
  • that each body and agency be encouraged to take action on the steps most appropriate to it;
  • that, in addition to reports required from each country by UNESCO respecting progress on the implementation of the Recommendation on the Development of Adult Education, progress be monitored yearly by national and regional organizations concerning action on all recommendations that apply to them;
  • that financial sources be obtained and used in each region, and internationally, for the process of assessment and for refining and improving the objectives for action for adult education;
  • that before 1980, regional and international meetings be called to appraise the results of the implementation of the Design for Action and to plan for future action.
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