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close this bookAdult Learning and the Changing World of Work - Report of Theme V - Fifth International Conference on Adult Education (UNEVOC, 1998, 136 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentFOREWORD
Open this folder and view contentsIV. PARTICIPANTS’ PRESENTATIONS TO THEME FIVE
View the documentAppendix A: Programme
View the documentAppendix B: UNESCO Institute for Education
View the documentAppendix C: About UNEVOC
View the documentAppendix D: The Advisory Committee and Contributors


(1) Objectives

The general objective of the Conference was to highlight the importance of adult learning and to forge a worldwide commitment to adult and continuing education in the perspective of lifelong learning. Lifelong learning is an approach to learning that involves people learning in many different environments - over large distances, in the workplace, or in non-formal settings - and throughout much of their lives. From learning basic numeracy or literacy to training on the latest software packages, people are using educational opportunities to take more control of their lives.

Yet education is about more than the transfer of skills. Education is a key to survival and sustainable and equitable development, it develops creativity, it also disseminates cultural values, and plays a role in the creation and maintenance of national identity. Given sufficient political will, education can be a powerful tool to help to create a culture of peace based on freedom, justice and mutual respect.

The more specific objectives of the Conference were as follows:

· building a synergy between formal and non-formal education.

· to exchange experience on present provision and needed improvements;

· to recommend future policy and priorities and adopt a Declaration on Adult Learning and an Agenda for the Future;

· to promote international co-operation.

(2) Themes

In recognition of these and other issues UNESCO identified the following 10 themes as crucial to the definition of adult learning priorities for the twenty-first century:

Theme 1
Adult learning and democracy: the challenges of the twenty-first century

Theme 2
Improving the conditions and quality of adult learning

Theme 3
Ensuring the universal right to literacy and basic education

Theme 4
Adult learning, gender equality and equity, and the empowerment of women

Theme 5
Adult learning and the changing world of work

Theme 6
Adult learning in relation to environment, health and population

Theme 7
Adult learning, culture, media and new information technologies

Theme 8
Adult learning for all: the rights and aspirations of different groups

Theme 9
The economics of adult learning

Theme 10
Enhancing international co-operation and solidarity

Theme 5
Adult learning and the changing world of work

World of work

What are the changes in the world of work that must be addressed by adult education to ensure the genuine implementation of life-long learning, life-long career development and life-long employment?

How can adult education co-operate with the world of employment and economic production to ensure the relevance, and employability, of human resources?

How can adult education support the development of democracy in the workplace through the collectivisation of employees, the appropriate role of unions, and through the promotion of self-help organisations of micro-enterprises of the informal economy the development of participatory management? How can adult education encourage the assumption of responsibility by the various entities within the world of work for the protection of the environment?


How should adult education articulate with general education, technical and vocational education, higher education, and with training within the workplace in order to support the maintenance of people as effective and efficient employees within the world of work?

How should adult education support the initiatives of non-formal education, small business enterprise and the self-employed with respect to the employment of people and to the effective and efficient performance of employees within the productive process?

What teaching/learning strategies need to be supported, or developed and implemented, by adult education to increase its contribution to the efficiency of the world of work and to the fair and just distribution of the wealth generated by the world of work?


What are the policies and legislation that need to be developed and implemented by governments to support the universal availability and effectiveness of adult and continuing technical and vocational education?

How can adult education for the world of work be co-ordinated effectively among the various ministries within a government that have some responsibility for training and employment (such as ministries of education, vocational education, higher education, employment, rural industries and tourism) and with NGOs and other organisations that have political clout?

What financial support needs to be given by governments, and other entities, to formal and informal adult and continuing education for the world of work?


How can adult education contribute to the removing of disparities of economic return from employment - among countries and within countries - stemming from such factors as sex discrimination, exploitation of the disadvantaged, the internationalising of work, the restructuring of economies and migration.

How can adult education for the world of work contribute significantly to the social effectiveness, social responsibility, personal fulfilment and the empowerment of people within the arena of work

(3) CONFINTEA’S Agenda for the Future for theme five

The changing world of work is a multifaceted issue of enormous concern and relevance to adult learning. Globalization and new technologies are having a powerful and growing impact on all dimensions of the individual and collective lives of women and men. There is increasing concern about the precariousness of employment and the rise of unemployment. In developing countries, the concern is not simply one of employment but also of ensuring secure livelihoods for all. The improvement needed in terms of production and distribution in industry, agriculture and services requires increased competencies, the development of new skills and the capacity to adapt productively to the continuously changing demands of employment throughout working life. The right to work, the opportunity for employment and the responsibility to contribute, at all ages of life, to the development and well-being of one’s society are issues which adult learning must address.

We commit ourselves to:

1. Promoting the right to work and the right to work-related adult learning:

(a) by recognising the right to work and to a sustainable livelihood for all and by fostering, through new solidarities, the diversification of models of employment and recognised productive activities;

(b) by ensuring that work-related adult education provides the specific competencies and skills for entry into the labour market and occupational mobility, and improves the ability of individuals to take part in diversified models of employment;

(c) by promoting partnerships between employers and employees;

(d) by ensuring that knowledge and skills informally acquired are fully recognised;

(e) by emphasising the powerful role of vocational adult education in the lifelong learning process;

(f) by integrating in informal and non-formal adult education processes an analytical and critical perspective in relation to the economic world and its functioning.

2. Ensuring access to work-related adult learning for different target groups:

(a) by encouraging employers to support and promote workplace literacy;

(b) by ensuring that work-related adult education policies address the needs of self-employed workers and workers in the informal economy and facilitate access for women and migrant workers to training in non-traditional jobs and sectors;

(c) by making sure that work-related adult education programmes consider gender equality, age, cultural differences, safety in the workplace and concerns for workers’ health, protection against unfair treatment and harassment, as well as the preservation of the environment and the proper management of natural resources;

(d) by enriching the learning environment at the workplace and offering flexible individual and collective learning activities and relevant services for workers.

3. Diversifying the contents of work-related adult learning:

(a) by addressing the issues inherent in agriculture, natural resource management and food security;

(b) by including elements relating to agricultural extension services, citizens’ rights, organisation-building, natural resource management, food security and reproductive health education;

(c) by stimulating entrepreneurship through adult education;

(d) by promoting gender-sensitive approaches within extension services, answering the needs of women in agriculture, industry and services, and enhancing their capacity to disseminate knowledge on all fields and issues.