The report recognises Lebanon’s care for millions of refugees often living in camps 

05 Dec 2019: UNESCO’s fourth Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE 4) has spotlighted the progress made by Lebanon in improving access to Adult Learning and Education (ALE). The report recognises Lebanon’s care for millions of refugees often living in camps. In total, low- and middle-income countries host 89% of refugees.

The report notes that addressing labour migration and displaced populations calls for a broad, coordinated approach that promotes coherence among employment, education, training and migration policies

Recognizing that many refugees living in the camps risk losing their literacy skills, the Ministry of Social Affairs in Lebanon launched a national adult post-literacy programme (PLP) in the social service centres in one of the country’s most densely populated cities, Bourj Hammoud. The programme targets neo-literate women and girls, aiming to help them retain their literacy skills and so avoid relapsing into illiteracy. The experiments have revealed the significance of the post-literacy phase in improving the living conditions of neo-literates. The centres offer a wide range of programmes, seminars and activities about health, nutrition and cooking. Similarly, during 2017–2018, INSAN, a nongovernmental organization, offered literacy and adult education programmes to enhance the literacy skills of displaced Syrians and members of Lebanese society of both genders. The organization also provided prevocational training to the same target group to equip them with computer, English and life skills. The training enabled the participants to enter the labour market and equipped the Syrians with aptitudes to rebuild their societies and communities when they return to their home country.

According to the report, there remain deep and persistent inequalities in ALE participation, with many vulnerable groups excluded and seemingly off the radar of policy-makers. Migrants and refugees, older adults, adults with disabilities, those living in rural areas, and adults with low prior educational attainment are among the groups facing the greatest barriers to participation in ALE

Adult education is central to sustainable development and economic growth. However, in almost one-third of countries fewer than five per cent of adults aged 15 and above participate in education and learning programmes. Disadvantaged groups, in particular, are often deprived of their right to education. Adults with disabilities, older adults, refugees and migrants, and minority groups are among those losing out, according to the report. 

Overall, the GRALE report warns major change in adult education participation is required to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

The report calls for a sea change in approach, backed by adequate investment, to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to access and benefit from adult learning and education and that its full contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is realized.

The findings of the global report are based on data submitted by 159 countries. 

To reach the Sustainable Development Goal 4 and other SDGs by 2030 the Global Report on Adult Learning and Education calls for six recommendations:

  1. better data, particularly for low-income countries and marginalized or vulnerable groups, such as migrants and refugees;
  2. increased investment in adult learning and education, from governments, employers and individuals;
  3. donor countries to live up to their aid obligations to developing countries and rebalance their funding of education to support the education of adults as well as children;
  4. more research on good practices, particularly when it comes to vulnerable and excluded groups;
  5. recognition that investment in adult learning and education has social, civic and economic benefits;
  6. an integrated, inter-sectoral and inter-ministerial approach to governance to enable Member States to realize the wider benefits of adult education to the greatest extent possible, with resources allocated accordingly.

About the UNESCO Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE) 

The UNESCO Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE) monitors whether UNESCO Member States are putting their international commitments on adult learning and education into practice. These commitments are set out in the Belém Framework for Action (2009), the outcome document of the 6th International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VI, Belém, Brazil), and the Recommendation on Adult Learning and Education (2015). In addition to this monitoring function, each issue of GRALE examines a particular topic, the 2019 edition focusses on participation. GRALE is published every three years. The Report combines survey data, policy analysis and case studies to provide policy-makers and practitioners with recommendations and examples of good practice. It presents evidence on how adult learning and education helps countries address current challenges and contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

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