UNESCO Chair in Adult Literacy and Learning for Social Transformation, University of East Anglia (2016)

Purpose/Objectives of the Chair/UNITWIN Network

This Chair aims to enhance understanding about how adult learning can contribute to sustainable livelihoods and address inequalities in the poorest communities of the world. Through investigating how or why adult learning might facilitate or respond to processes of social transformation, including women’s empowerment, the Chair sets out to strengthen the interaction between formal, non-formal and informal learning in research, policy and programmes.

UEA’s UNESCO Chair will look to strengthen qualitative research capacity in the field of adult literacy, learning and social transformation by working closely within 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). The Chair will promote a holistic approach to adult learning as the basis for active citizenship and improved livelihoods. In so doing, the UNESCO Chair will connect closely to UNESCO’s work in providing the frameworks, standards and international agreements to promote gender equality and high quality and inclusive lifelong learning for all.

Chairholder/Coordinator: Professor Anna Robinson-Pant

Address: Professor of Education, School of Education & Lifelong Learning, Lawrence Stenhouse Building 1.20,
Email: a.robinson-pant@uea.ac.uk
Tel: + 44 (0)160 359 2857



UEA Anna Robinson-Pant 2Anna Robinson-Pant is a Professor of Education at the University of East Anglia. She was based for around ten years in South Asia and won the UNESCO Award for International Literacy Research  in 2001 for her study on women’s literacy and development in Nepal. Her research interests in intercultural learning, ethnographic research and participatory methodology emerged from her professional experiences as trainer, evaluator and planner with NGO and Government programmes in the field of adult literacy, gender and development. She has since contributed to raising the profile of participatory and ethnographic research approaches in the international development policy arena, through publications and projects – including her role as Global Research Coordinator on the IFAD-UNESCO study, ‘Learning knowledge and skills for agriculture and rural livelihoods’. Her previous involvement with UNESCO has included commissioned papers on ‘The benefits of literacy’ and scoping work for the UNESCO EFA Global Monitoring Report 2006, Literacy for Life;  research for the UNESCO Literacy Decade Mid-Term Review (The Global Literacy Challenge 2008); and a study on literacy education for sustainable development and women’s empowerment for the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (2014). This paper was translated by the Korean National Commission for UNESCO (2015) and presented by Professor Robinson-Pant at the KNCU Bridge Asia Partners Training Workshop in November 2015.

Professor Robinson-Pant is committed to finding ways of developing a more inclusive academic research community. This has meant a strong emphasis on engaging practitioners and policy makers in research, an attention to ensuring research outputs are accessible and constantly exploring ways of mentoring and working collaboratively with practitioner and early career researchers. As Editor of Compare: a journal of comparative and international education, she worked with colleagues to set up an academic writing mentoring programme for new writers, particularly from countries in the South.   During 2015-16, she led the ‘Bridging the Gap’ project, funded by the British Association for International and Comparative Education (BAICE) with the UK Literacy Working Group, to bring together practitioner, policy makers and academic researchers in the field of women’s literacy and development.

Anna Robinson-Pant is active in the field of international education and development within the UK higher education sector. She is on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Educational Development, Compare and Studies in Adult Education, and is a trustee of the UK Forum for International Education and Training. She has conducted research on internationalization, including a UEA Teaching Fellowship project, ‘Addressing the needs of first year international research students and their supervisors: an academic literacies approach’ (resulting in a DVD and manual, 2010) and a Society for Research into Higher Education Scoping Study Award (2014-5) on ‘The role of recruitment agents in the internationalisation of higher education. She was awarded the BMW Group Award for Intercultural Learning 2007, Theory Category for her book, Cross-cultural Perspectives on Educational Research.

Selected publications

Robinson-Pant, A. (2016) Exploring the concept of insider-outsider in comparative and international research: essentialising culture or culturally essential? In Crossley, M., Arthus, A. and E. McNess (eds) Revisiting Insider-Outsider research in Comparative and International Education, Oxford: Symposium Books

Robinson-Pant, A. (2016) Education and Rural Development: proposing an alternative paradigm, in McGrath, S. and Q. Gu (eds) Routledge Handbook of International Education and Development, London: Routledge

Aikman, S. and A. Robinson-Pant (2016) ‘Challenging deficit discourses in international education and development’, Compare: a journal of comparative and international education, Vol. 46, No. 2, March 2016.

Robinson-Pant, A. (2014) Women and Literacy: when will we stop talking about benefits and barriers? In Compare Forum on Women’s Right to Literacy, Compare: a journal of comparative and international education, Vol. 44/4, pp 655-675

Robinson-Pant, A. and N. Singal (2013) Research ethics in comparative and international education: reflections from anthropology and health, Compare: a journal of comparative and international education, Vol. 43.4, pp 443 – 463

Magyar, A. and A. Robinson-Pant (2011) Internationalising doctoral research: developing theoretical perspectives on practice, Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, Vol. 17, No. 6, pp 663-677

Robinson-Pant, A., Aikman, S., Maddox, B. & Rao, N. (2011) Literacy inequalities and social justice. International Journal of Educational Development, Vol 31

Robinson-Pant, A. (2010) Changing discourses: literacy and development in Nepal’, International Journal of Educational Development, Vol. 30 (2), March 2010

Cox, S., Dyer, C., Robinson-Pant, A. & Schweisfurth, M. (2010) Children as Decision Makers in Education: Sharing Experiences Across Cultures, Continuum

Basu, K., Maddox, B. and A. Robinson-Pant (2009) Interdisciplinary Approaches to Literacy and Development, London: Routledge

Robinson-Pant, A. (2009) Changing Academies: exploring international PhD students’ perspectives on ‘host’ and ‘home’ universities, Higher Education Research and Development Vol.28, No. 4, 417 – 429

Robinson-Pant, A. (2008)  “Why literacy matters”: exploring a policy perspective on literacy, identity and social change, Journal of Development Studies, Vol. 44/6

Robinson-Pant, A. (2004) Women, Literacy and Development: alternative perspectives, London: Routledge

Robinson-Pant, A. (2005) Cross-cultural Perspectives on Educational Research, Open University Press, Maidenhead

Robinson-Pant, A. (2001) Why eat green cucumber at the time of dying? Exploring the link between women’s literacy and development: a Nepal perspective, Hamburg: UNESCO Institute for Education

Lillis, T., Magyar, A. and A. Robinson-Pant (2010) ‘An international journal’s attempts to address inequalities in academic publishing: developing a writing for publication programme’, Compare: a journal of comparative and international education, Vol. 40/6, pp 781 – 800

Magyar, A. and A. Robinson-Pant (2011), ‘Internationalising doctoral research: developing theoretical perspectives on practice’, Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, Vol. 17, No. 6, pp 663-677

Robinson-Pant A. (2010) ‘Internationalisation of higher education: challenges for the doctoral supervisor’ in Thomson, P. and M. Walker (eds) The Routledge Doctoral Supervisor’s Companion: Supporting effective research in education and the social sciences, Routledge, London

Robinson-Pant, A. and B. Street (2012) ‘Students’ and tutors’ understanding of ‘new’ academic literacy practices’, in Castello, M. and C. Donahue (2012) (Eds) University writing: selves and texts in academic societies, in G. Rijlaarsdam (series ed.) Volume Series in Writing, London: Emerald Group Publishing Ltd