The UK University contributing its expertise to Africa’s adult literacy

The UNESCO Chair in Adult Literacy and Learning for Social Transformation at the University of East Anglia, Professor Anna Robinson-Pant, has met the UNESCO Addis Ababa Liaison Office and UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA) to take forward the UK’s expertise in adult literacy and lifelong learning.

Established in 2016, the UNESCO Chair in Adult Literacy and Learning for Social Transformation [insert link] aims to enhance understanding around how adult learning can contribute to sustainable livelihoods and address inequalities in the poorest communities of the world. The UNESCO Chair also intends to connect closely to UNESCO’s work to provide the frameworks, standards and international agreements to promote gender equality and high quality and inclusive lifelong learning for all.

At the meeting, Professor Robinson-Pant gave an introduction to the UNESCO Chair and specifically its collaborative programme to ‘strengthen research and teaching capacity in adult literacy and lifelong learning’. The Chair works with partner institutions in Ethiopia (Bahir Dar University), Nepal (Kathmandu University and Tribhuvan University Research Center for Educational Innovation and Development) and Egypt (Ain Shams University) to strengthen research and teaching capacity in adult literacy and lifelong learning.

The session emphasised the need for inter-sectoral cooperation to achieve Adult Literacy, and the topic was thoroughly discussed with IICBA and each of UNESCO’s thematic sectors bringing their perspective. The meeting also explored opportunities for inter-sectoral collaboration for example, through informal learning, gender mainstreaming, intangible culture and Digital & Mobile literacy, and multilingual education were also explored. IICBA stressed the need for competent teachers who would play a critical role in adult literacy as well as community engagement.

The IICBA, headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is the only UNESCO Institute in Africa. The Institute aims to strengthen the capacity of teacher education institutions with Africa’s 54 Member States. The Institute has two main programmes to deal with the challenges facing teachers and teaching in Africa, Teacher Policy Development, and School Leadership and Supervision. [insert links]

The meeting concluded with an energised atmosphere as participants discussed yet-to-be explored platforms for collaboration on adult education and lifelong learning.