Developing inclusive lifelong learning policies and practices in the Global South

This activity was a three-day symposium on lifelong learning (LLL) for vulnerable youths and adults that brought participants together to share knowledge, develop solutions, and build partnerships that resulted in various outputs, including a report showcasing findings and recommendations, a series of policy briefs, and a research proposal.

The event focused on youth and adult LLL, including basic skills and literacy, continuing education, and citizenship education. LLL is credited for its ability to create and strengthen human and social capital. Apart from developing and enhancing individuals’ professional skills, knowledge, and confidence, LLL has a potential to contribute to personal development, health, and wellbeing; support integration of the vulnerable and marginalised into society; nurture social cohesion; and empower action towards positive change. LLL’s contribution to communities is of particular importance now as the COVID-19 pandemic has been having significant adverse impacts on societies, disproportionally affecting those who are already vulnerable.

Yet, UNESCO’s Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (2019) shows that LLL opportunities are unevenly distributed among neighbourhoods and groups, leaving the poor, the elderly, minorities, persons with disabilities, and women behind. A challenge in many low-income countries is to build a system of LLL that is inclusive of, accessible to, and relevant to everyone regardless of their socioeconomic, religious or ethnic background, gender, age, or location. In short, it should be LLL that everyone in the society can benefit from.

Understanding that there is a need to re-evaluate and rethink the existing LLL policies and practices to ensure that they meet the needs and interests of communities, especially those in vulnerable low-income neighbourhoods, we will hold a three-day symposium at Mount Kenya University (Kenya) in Spring 2021.

The symposium brought together stakeholders from different countries and institutions to draw on their strengths and experiences in working on adult/youth LLL in low-income countries. We used different types of engagement to ensure everyone’s active and creative participation, including a round table discussion, individual and group presentations/storytelling, small group sessions, workshops, and session for peer-supported advice. We address five critical questions: 1. What is LLL in our contexts? 2. Who is excluded from LLL provision in our contexts and why? 3. Is current LLL provision supported by national policies? 4. What we envision LLL to be? 5. What are the steps to achieve this vision?

PI and Co-Is - International Collaborators

PI: Dr Yulia Nesterova, School of Education/Center for Sustainable, Healthy and Learning Cities, University of Glasow

Co-PI: Dr Queralt Capsada-Munsech, School of Education, University of Glasow

Co-I: Prof. Deo Jaganyi, Vice-Chancellor, Mount Kenya University (Kenya)

Co-I: Dr Vincent Manirakiza, University of Rwanda (Rwanda)

Co-I: Prof. Idowu (Idohou) Biao, Université d’Abomey Calavi (Benin)

Co-I: Prof. Charles Nherera, University of Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe)

Start and End date

1 September 2020 - 30 June 2021

Funder and Funding amount

Global Challenges Research Fund Small Grants