5th Global Report on Adult Learning and Education – Citizenship Education: Empowering Adults to Change – Global



Adult education is not reaching those who need it most, says new UNESCO report

Paris, June 15, 2022 – The main challenge for adult learning and education around the world is to reach those who need it most. This is the key message of the fifth UNESCO Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE 5) which will be released on June 15, 2022 during the Seventh International Conference on Adult Education in Marrakech, in Morocco.

The UNESCO report shows that while progress has been made, particularly in the participation of women, those most in need of adult education – disadvantaged and vulnerable groups such as indigenous learners, rural populations, migrants, elderly citizens, people with disabilities or prisoners – are deprived of access to learning opportunities.

Around 60% of countries reported no improvement in the participation of people with disabilities, migrants or prisoners. 24% of countries indicated that the participation of rural populations had decreased. And the participation of older people has also decreased in 24% of the 159 countries studied. GRALE 5 calls for a major shift in Member States’ approach to adult learning and education, supported by adequate investment to ensure everyone has the opportunity to benefit from learning and education adults.

“I urge governments and the international community to join hands and take action to ensure that the right to education is realized for all, regardless of their age, who they are or where they live,” said the Director. General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay. . “Rapid technological and social changes as well as massive global challenges demand that citizens have access to new lifelong learning. Re-skilling and upskilling through adult learning and education must become a routine. The ultimate skill of the 21st century is the ability to learn.”

A wider range of learners

More than half of countries reported an increase in participation in adult learning and education since 2018, but challenges remain. While the participation of women and young people has improved considerably, overall participation in adult learning and education remains insufficient.

In 23% of the 159 countries that submitted data for GRALE 5, less than 1% of young people and adults aged 15 and over participate in education and learning programmes. Sub-Saharan Africa is well ahead with 59% of countries reporting that at least one in five adults benefits from learning. This figure drops to just 16% in Latin American and Caribbean countries and 25% in Europe. . The high participation rate in Africa can be partly explained by a strong demand for adult literacy and second chance education.

The quality is improving

Most countries reported progress in terms of program quality, assessment and professionalization of adult educators. More than two-thirds reported progress in the initial and continuing training of AEA educators, as well as in conditions of employment, although this progress varied considerably by region and income group. This improves the quality of adult education.

Citizenship education key to sustainable development

Responding to contemporary challenges, such as climate change and digitalization, requires informed, educated and engaged, active citizens who recognize both their common humanity and their obligations to other species and the planet. Citizenship education is a key tool in this endeavour. In a special thematic chapter, GRALE 5 shows that nearly three-quarters (74%) of countries are developing or implementing citizenship education policies.

About the Global Report on Adult Learning and Education

Published by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, the Global Report on Adult Learning and Education assesses the extent to which UNESCO Member States are putting their international commitments into practice in adult learning and education. The reports combine survey data, policy analysis and case studies to provide policymakers and practitioners with insightful recommendations and examples of good practice. Five reports have been published since 2009.

  • Download the Fifth Global Report on Adult Learning and Education

  • Download the summary of the Fifth Global Report on Adult Learning and Education

About the Seventh International Conference on Adult Education

From June 15-17, 2022, participants from around the world will gather for the Seventh International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VII) in Marrakech, Morocco. They will take stock of achievements in adult learning and education, discuss challenges and develop a new framework for action to make adult learning and education a reality worldwide. CONFINTEA VII is hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco and co-organized with UNESCO.

Visit the Conference website here

Media contact:

  • Katja Römer, Communication Specialist, UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, tel. +49 (0)40 44 80 41 54, [email protected]

  • Clare O’Hagan, Head of Press Office, UNESCO, [email protected], Tel. +33 1 45 68 17 29

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