Preparatory Conference in Asia and the Pacific in Seoul
Building Equitable and Sustainable Societies in Asia and the Pacific
Recommendations, Strategies and Benchmarks
17. We acknowledge that adult learning and education can provide people with the necessary abilities, skills, awareness and creative competencies to exercise and advance their rights, to end poverty, to contribute to equity and inclusion, and to build equitable and sustainable societies. We believe that it is urgent for governments to:
- Reaffirm and create full conditions for the exercise of the right to learning and education for all and by all.
- Recommit to a vision of adult learning and education within a perspective of lifelong learning and to confirm the primary responsibility of governments to enact and strengthen appropriate legislative frameworks.
- Ensure that adult learning and education policies are designed with sector-wide approaches and lifelong learning frameworks and integrated with EFA, MDGs, Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers and national development plans.
- Ensure that adult learning and education policies are implemented through adequately financed programmes which are reviewed and evaluated against pre-determined benchmarks.
- Provide high-quality learning opportunities for all throughout life, to build learning communities and societies.
- Enhance the capacity of relevant ministries to implement policies and to monitor progress at regular intervals.
- Promote international cooperation and policy dialogue.
18. Adult learning is an investment, and not merely an item of expenditure from the national budget. Significant financial investment is needed to meet the diverse and complex challenges of adult literacy, adult education and lifelong learning for all the citizens of Asia and the Pacific. Therefore:
- Governments should recommit themselves to the CONFINTEA V agreement to allocate 6 per cent of GNP to education. Allocations to adult learning and education/lifelong learning, at least 6 per cent of the education budget, should be increased through advocacy to national finance and planning ministries.
- Adult education activities which are outside the budgets of education ministries should be recognised, acknowledged and tapped into, and their funding allocations should be increased.
- Governments should seek to liberate new resources for literacy and adult education by improving management and accountability, including de-centralisation to local community levels for decision-making in resource allocation and spending.
- Development partners should, without condition, increase and prioritise aid (including debt swap or debt cancellation) to adult literacy and life skills for youth and adults in ways which are responsive, transparent and participatory.
- Development partners should fulfil their commitment to filling the financing gaps in EFA by contributing at least US $2.5 billion to ensure the achieve ment of the EFA goal of improving adult literacy levels by 50 per cent by 2015.
- The EFA Fast Track Initiative (FTI) should include adult education, non-formal and literacy component, and ensure efficient and prompt delivery of financ ing support.
19. Recognising that individuals and communities must be empowered to face developmental challenges in this diverse and rapidly changing region, and in order to build equitable and sustainable societies, it is imperative to assure the quality of adult learning and education. We therefore recommend:
- The development and improvement of curriculum, materials and pedagogy, in order to ensure the relevance of ALE content in all domains to meet social and individual needs, taking into account different contexts.
- Building the knowledge base on adult learning and education through systematic inter disciplinary research for innovation, replication and mainstreaming.
- That governments assess and develop human resource capacity for profes sionals in ALE in partnership with research and higher education institu tions.
- That governments establish and strengthen equivalency frameworks through national quality accreditation and quality standard-setting.
- That Governments establish networks and partnerships among ALE provid ers and supporting organisations at national and local level, to enhance institutional capacities and strengthen professional development.
- That UNESCO facilitates international networks for collaboration and sharing good practice among Member States.
Participation and Inclusion
20. To build equitable and sustainable societies in Asia and the Pacific requires the participation of as many actors as possible, whether governmental or non-governmental, public or private, individual or collective. To combat marginalisation, poverty and unemployment, the need to expand adults’ ac cess to literacy and learning has become ever greater and demands urgent action. Every participating nation is encouraged to develop and implement their own action plan to ensure multi stakeholder partnerships at national and local levels to secure recognition, commitment and active involvement of different government agencies/departments, non-governmental organisa tions, civil society organisations, local communities, formal/higher education institutions and the private sector in planning, financing and monitoring ALE. We recommend that:
- Member States should establish multi-pronged affirmative action strate gies to address inequality issues such as gender, poverty, age, disability, ethnicity, displacement through conflict and migration. There should be a systematic focus on women and disadvantaged groups in all educational polices and approaches.
- Member States establish a national high-level oversight body in the form of an Adult and Lifelong Learning Council or Commission to mobilise and coordinate the efforts of all ALE stakeholders.
- Accessible ALE programmes should be created that are free or subsidised by government, with incentives for learning, including paid study leave for ALE.
- Strong partnerships should be built between government and NGOs, CSOs, as well as ALE providers with community-based organisations and strengthen the capacity of communities for involvement in planning and implementation of ALE programmes.
- Networks of multi-purpose community-based learning centres should be established to form a base for offering ALE.
- ALE should be integrated with income generation programmes and innovative community development projects.
- Free assessment services should be provided and labour market information disseminated to motivate potential learners.
- Local wisdom, knowledge, methodologies as well as mother-tongues should be valued and applied in ALE programmes.
21. The lack of reliable data and evidence makes it difficult for governments, their partners and other stakeholders to track progress in policy implementation. Adult education is not exceptional in this regard. Regular collection of information, at both national and international levels, will help governments and stakeholders to follow the progress of policy and financing in ALE and lifelong learning. We recommend that:
- Member States should be encouraged to establish and strengthen data collection and information management systems at local and national levels. Such systems should have the collaboration of academia, government and NGOs be developed with a common framework that allows comparisons at regional and global levels.
- Governments, working with key stakeholders, should coordinate the map ping of adult learning and education, to generate disaggregated infor mation on the learning needs and appropriate approaches to reach the neediest and most disadvantaged groups.
- A regional and/or global monitoring and quality assurance mechanism, including both quantitative and qualitative ALE indicators, should be de veloped by UNESCO/UIL and implemented to check progress in meeting CONFINTEA VI targets.
- An Asia-Pacific Commission, comprising key stakeholders and experts, should be formed to monitor progress in adult learning and education initiatives in the region.
- A “Global Report on Adult Learning and Education” should be produced more frequently, and should include regular national reporting and assess ment on ALE.
- A substantial Mid-Term Review should be conducted in 2015 (coinciding with the EFA and MDG timelines) to report on national implementations of CONFINTEA VI initiatives.