Advocacy for the global education agenda

Maria Khan, Secretary General of the Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE), a partner organisation of DVV International, talks about successes and challenges of the new global education agenda.

Maria Khan

Maria Khan, Secretary General of the Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE), a partner organisation of DVV International, talks about successes and challenges of the new global education agenda.

You were very engaged in developing and shaping the new education agenda within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Are you satisfied with the result?

Maria Khan: While by no means perfect, SDG 4 is stronger than the previous education goal within the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which almost solely focused on universal primary education. SDG 4 promotes a lifelong learning framework where adult literacy, informal and non-formal youth and adult education are recognised. It sets the relevance of education towards addressing current challenges facing humanity like climate change, conflict, intolerance or gender inequity. The challenge will be in concretising and contextualising this new agenda especially at national levels and in mustering the financial, human and political resources to meet the ambitious targets. The financing commitments to meeting the SDGs are vague and the push towards more private sector involvement can seriously stall the equity and inclusion objectives of the SDGs. This should be challenged.

Why do you think youth and adult education is still so neglected by governments and donors?

Maria Khan: Education as a whole begs greater priority from governments and donors – non-formal youth and adult education however suffers even more inattention. As many of its offers are context-specific, responsive to diverse learning needs, and happen in different spheres, spaces and stages of a person’s life, it does not lend to easy measuring, quantifying, and assessing. This can be seen to be incompatible with the neat, logical, predictable world that the regimes of “results-based” management frameworks prefer. The fact that youth and adult education especially addresses marginalised and vulnerable groups might add to its low prestige. Tragically, it often gets reduced to “poor quality education for the poor”.

What is the advocacy role of ASPBAE and DVV International for more recognition of youth and adult education?

Maria Khan: First of all, ASPBAE and DVV International should advocate within civil society and work hard to recruit more champions and advocates for youth and adult education. We should advocate within the emerging national, regional and global platforms on the SDGs and SDG 4 follow-up. Ministries and local government agencies, but also inter-governmental organisations – such as ASEAN and SEAMEO – need convincing too. A grave concern is that youth and adult education does not figure in the priorities of the emergent financing frameworks for the global education agenda (Education 2030) – the Education Cannot Wait fund and the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity. Donors need to respect the internationally agreed education agenda and not starve youth and adult education with inattention and zero funding. ASPBAE and DVV International should join other civil society organisations globally to make sure that doesn’t happen.

This interview was first published in DVV International’s annual report 2016 which is available in English and German.

Unsere Arbeit


DVV International arbeitet mit mehr als 200 Partnern in über 30 Ländern.

Zur interaktiven Weltkarte

Neueste Beiträge

In cooperation with DVV International, the local NGO Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP) has been working to provide improved non-formal education and training for members of the Kavet ethnic minority in Ratanakiri, Cambodia, since 2009. To this end they train volunteer teachers.

Read more

In Zusammenarbeit mit DVV International arbeitet die lokale NGO Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP) seit 2009 daran, Angehörigen der ethnischen Minderheit der Kavet in Ratanakiri, Kambodscha, eine verbesserte Bildung und Ausbildung zu bieten. Zu diesem Zweck bilden sie freiwillige Lehrerinnen und Lehrer aus.

Read more

The way we see the world is greatly influenced by culture, be it the values we carry, the perceptions we have or the behaviours we exhibit. Culture also affects how we understand and interact with each other. Therefore, cultural values and norms affect not only our day-to-day interactions with other people, but also extend to the classroom and affect both learning and teaching styles.

Read more

The “Africa Adult Education System Building Workshop” took place from 30 September to 5 October 2019 in Ethiopia, with participants from 4 regional offices and 8 national offices of DVV International in Africa. Representatives from institutional partners of DVV International in those countries were also present.

The objective of the workshop was to initiate and to train the DVV International officers from the participating countries in the techniques and tools of the approach that is currently being implemented in Ethiopia, which is showing positive results and has been commended by their partners.

Participants Asma Jebri and Houssem Bel Hadj (Tunisia) share their impressions and takeaways of the workshop.

Read more

Ibrahim Matovu is an adult educator/facilitator of the Kibisi ‘Obwavu Mpologoma’ Integrated Community Learning for Wealth Creation (ICOLEW) Group. He talks about his work and his motivation.

Read more