Preparatory Conference in Europe in Budapest


Adult Learning for Equity and Inclusion in the Context of Mobility and Competition





  1. The 48th UNESCO International Conference on Education (ICE), November 2008, recalled Article 26 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights which states that everyone has a right to education. We concur with ICE’s affirmation that inclusive education is fundamental to achieving human, social and economic development.
  2. There is need too for the Pan-European region to recognise its responsibility to act as a partner for the development of ALE in the rest of the world. The significance of North-South partnerships is stressed, since they enable mutual

learning and aid to be directed to fulfil the EFA goals and ensure that the importance of ALE in pursuing the Millennium Development Goals is recognised.

10. It is recommended that policy frameworks:

  • cover the formal, non-formal and the informal forms of ALE
  • take into account the personal, social, health, economic, cultural and inter-generational benefits of adult learning
  • encompass programmes that are based on the needs of learners and made more accessible through appropriate content and support
  • strengthen the links and co-ordination with early childhood care and education (ECCE) in lifelong learning frameworks and strategies
  • are developed and implemented through a horizontal, coordinated, and inclusive approach
  1. Governance issues should be addressed with a view to creating the local, regional and national frameworks, structures and partnerships – including public authorities, social partners and civil society – essential for the develop ment, co-ordination, funding, provision, quality management and monitoring of ALE. The involvement of civil society in policy development, policy imple mentation and governance should be particularly promoted and supported. Learners’ organisations, learning communities and learning regions have a positive role to play in establishing, planning, delivering and supporting ALE initiatives in this regard.
  2. Robust public investment is key to the development of ALE, which is vital to the public and private interest. In many countries the financing of vocational and, in particular, non-vocational adult education is not sufficient.
  3. Funding should include public sources with support from national, regional, and local level, as well as multi-stakeholder contributions from the private sector and the individual. Under-represented groups need particular financial support. Timely and effective investments in ALE could prevent the higher social costs of unemployment or marginalisation.
  4. New financing mechanisms should be put in place to stimulate individual and collective participation and investment by enterprises.
  5. Countries should promote access to ALE. Low participation in ALE, particularly among socio-economic groups that could benefit most from further learning, is a concern. We recommend that more equitable access to, and participation in, ALE are promoted and supported through concrete measures, such as Adult Learners’ Weeks and learning festivals, targeted especially at those adults who are otherwise least likely to participate. As a result the overall volume of participation will increase. This will involve strengthening the full range and quality of ALE provision, the development of lifelong guidance systems and the promotion of key competences needed to address individual, social and economic change as well as gender and social inequalities and to contribute to social justice and a dynamic civil society. In addition, higher education institutions should become more responsive to the increasing demand for higher-level qualifications.

16. Recognising the critical importance of literacy, language, numeracy, social, ICT and VET competences as part of lifelong learning strategies in the pan-European region and in the other regions of the world, and in view of new and evolving demands in these competences, we recommend that special attention be given to:

  • supporting people who need to maintain and improve literacy, language, numeracy and ICT competences as a key tool for individual empowerment, inclusion and economic well-being
  • the continuum from the acquisition of literacy competences, and their maintenance and application in health, work, social and personal contexts
  • the inter-generational impact and benefits of family literacy
  • ensuring that adult learning and education programmes reflect the EFA goals and the objectives of the UN Literacy Decade as an international platform for strengthening action in literacy

17. Given the diversity of the structure and capacity of ALE in the development of the region we recommend that UNESCO develops a template of indicators of participation and progression on a web portal that countries may use to measure changes, to evaluate change over time and to share good practices with other countries. These could usefully include:

  • participation rates in ALE, and targeted increases among under-represented groups
  • appropriate measures in place for adults needing improved literacy, language, numeracy and ICT skills and competences; and
  • appropriate measures in place to meet the aspiration for every adult to improve their skills, competences and/or qualifications for work


18. Learning outcomes wherever, whenever and however achieved should be recognised and validated. This should take place within the context of coher ent sub-national and/or national systems. We call upon UNESCO to support initiatives in this field.

19. Policies, structures and measures to assure the quality of learning should be developed.Competence profiles for ALE practitioners and a systematic ap proach to their initial and continuing professional development should also be developed as far as is practicable. Higher education, along with other providers, has a key role to play in this regard.

20. ALE is a legitimate and essential research area. We recommend more invest ment in research, evaluation and documentation of ALE in order to promote better informed policy decisions and to improve quality. To demonstrate the wider benefits of participation in ALE and substantially increase the overall comparability and visibility of ALE for a wide range of stakeholders, com prehensive data collection systems should be developed. To promote ALE research production, dissemination and application there is a clear need for the development of a research infrastructure, for robust mechanisms for the production and dissemination of research and, critically, for a research interface to promote the use of research results in policy development and implementation.

21. We recommend that UNESCO encourage Member States to include representa tives of NGOs, CSOs, employers, unions, private providers and adult learners in their delegations to CONFINTEA VI.



22. The development and implementation of regular tracking mechanisms is necessary in order to achieve the recommendations resulting from this Conference. To that end, we strongly urge that:

  • Member States establish a regular monitoring mechanism for implementing the present recommendations at country level
  • Member States commit themselves to monitoring progress and to a substantial CONFINTEA VI Mid-Term Review which will coincide with the EFA and MDGs timeline of 2015
  • Templates are developed for sharing good practice in a framework of inter national co-operation through ALE advisory committees, including NGOs and CSOs, networks and collaborative programmes
  • Member States commit themselves to encourage and support co-operation and dialogue among different interest groups and stakeholders in adult education
  • UNESCO, through the UNESCO Institute of Lifelong Learning, coordi nates a monitoring process at global level to periodically take stock of the progress and performance in ALE


Adult Education and Development


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