Institutions of Adult Learning and Education (IALE) operate in very different environments worldwide. Their work is strongly influenced by legal settings, financial resources, local culture and practice, availability of partners, networks, qualified educators and the general reputation that adult learning and education (ALE) enjoys in the local community. Nevertheless, what IALEs have in common, is the need to have a deeper look at the quality of the services they render and the general direction and vision their organisation is following. But how can IALEs be supported and guided in this challenging process?
The term “Institutions of Adult Learning and Education” (IALEs) is used to cover a broad range of governmental and non-governmental organisations providing ALE. Taken into account is the fact that many IALE operate within institutions which have a broader scope for social, cultural and educational purposes, and which refer to themselves as a “Community Learning Centre”, “Community Development Centre”, “Youth Club”, or other. In one way or another, they all offer assistance to people who strive to develop their potential by providing orientation for professional and personal development, as well as education in various subjects and formats, and thus enhance people’s participation in economic, social or political initiatives.
With the Curriculum institutionALE (CI), DVV International has developed a framework for supporting IALEs in their ongoing search for adequate structures and services in a constantly changing environment. The CI aims at:
The CI covers all three main functions of adult education institutions, namely, providing orientation, offering education and enabling participation. For each service and capacity, various exemplary steps, indicators and methods are offered that give ideas on how to design, implement and assess capacity-building processes. The guidelines were initially developed for DVV International staff, but can also be used by everybody who is involved in the organisational and capacity development of adult education providers.
The CI is based on the so-called “Key Performance Indicators for Adult Education Centres (KPI)” that were developed in DVV International’s Middle East Office in 2014. KPIs provided individual tools and guidelines for the partners to develop certain aspects of their capacities as adult education providers. Using Curriculum institutionALE at a later stage helped them in putting all of those tools and directions into a framework of what being an IALE means holistically. The KPIs and Curriculum institutionALE were also successfully piloted and adapted in different countries, e.g. Ukraine and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and are currently implemented in South-East and Central Asia as well as the Middle East.
In 2018, community-based youth and adult education centres were established in Palestine as a joint effort of the Ministry of Education and local communities and municipalities. In the framework of this new type of public partnership, Curriculum institutionALE has been a very much needed and useful tool. The local communities were closely involved in identifying why such institutions are needed, what their ultimate goals are, on which principles and values they should be based and what roles different actors can have.
However, up to this date, there had not been any existing framework to help identify and develop areas of those processes and structures that could strengthen their identity as IALEs and that would enable them to develop sound foundations and principles of adult learning and education. Curriculum institutionALE provided a strong general framework to support the development of all different aspects of organisational capacities of these new public institutions of ALE. Within the CI-based process of capacity building of the new partners, it was very essential to ensure that their existing identity, history and experiences were taken into account and were seen as the starting point and base of their individual capacity development journey – something that Curriculum institutionALE provides for.