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UNESCO warns: Vulnerable groups such as migrants, the elderly or prisoners do not have access to adult education

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A new UNESCO report shows that while there is progress, particularly in women’s participation, adult education is being brought closer to all but those who need it most, such as disadvantaged and vulnerable groups (indigenous students, rural people, migrants, Senior citizens). , people with disabilities or prisoners) are denied access to learning opportunities.

This is one of the main conclusions of UNESCO’s Fifth World Report on Adult Education and Training (GRALE 5) to be published on June 15, 2022 at the Seventh International Conference on Adult Education in Marrakesh (Morocco). .

According to this report, about 60% of the participating countries indicated that they had not improved the participation of people with disabilities, immigrants or prisoners. 24% of countries reported that rural participation had decreased. Participation among older adults also fell in 24% of the 159 countries surveyed.

GRALE 5 therefore calls for a fundamental change in Member States’ approach to adult education and training, supported by adequate investment to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to benefit from adult education and training.

“I call on governments and the international community to join our efforts to ensure that the right to education is realized for everyone, regardless of age, origin or place of residence,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay.

In his opinion, “the rapid technological and societal changes, as well as the enormous global challenges, require that citizens have access to new learning throughout their lives”. “Retraining and upskilling through adult education and training must become routine. The ultimate ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn,” he explains.


More than half of countries reported increases in participation in adult learning and learning since 2018, but challenges remain. Although the participation of women and young people has improved significantly, the overall participation in adult education and training remains insufficient.

In 23% of the 159 countries that submitted data for GRALE 5, less than 1% of youth and adults aged 15 and over are enrolled in education and learning programmes. Sub-Saharan Africa leads by a wide margin, with 59% of countries reporting that at least one in five adults benefits from learning. That number drops to just 16% in Latin America and the Caribbean countries and 25% in Europe. According to UNESCO, high participation rates in Africa can be explained in part by strong demand for adult literacy and second chance education.

On the other hand, the report claims that most countries have reported progress in terms of curriculum quality, assessment and professionalization of adult educators. More than two-thirds reported progress in teacher training and employment, although this progress varied greatly by region and income group.

Finally, the report states that citizen education is a key tool to have informed, trained, engaged and active citizens to respond to current challenges such as climate change and digitization.

In this sense, GRALE 5 shows in a dedicated thematic chapter that almost three quarters (74%) of countries are developing or applying citizenship education strategies.

Source europapress.es

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