By Associate Professor Sandra Lee Morrison
Paris, November 2015
I represent the International Council for Adult Education, a global network with a specific mandate to advocate for youth and adult learning and education as a universal human right. After several years of collective work we celebrate this renewed commitment to education, ensuring inclusive, equitable, quality and lifelong education for all. There is indeed a lot to celebrate given such a universal and holistic 2030 agenda through not only formal, but also non-formal and informal pathways for people of all ages.
The guidance provided by the 2030 Framework for Action is especially important for the realization of the right to education of youth and adults. Adult Learning and Education is a pre-condition and fundamental base for all other goals to achieve sustainable development, inclusive democratic citizenship and to overcome poverty by developing the full potential of all men and women.
However, there is still a lot of work to be done. We have to recognize that the former education agendas only achieved modest progress. For the 2030 agenda to be successful and to develop full opportunities for all youth and adults to learn and to continue learning, political and policy commitments must be followed by financing that guarantee and support absolutely implementation.
If we are truly committed to “leave no one behind” we cannot be satisfied to only reach ‘a substantial proportion of adults’. 774 million adults remain illiterate in the world, of which more than 60% are women.1 We cannot afford another unfinished agenda, as the next generations will inherit the consequences.
Literate adults have a positive impact on their children’s learning. Family and inter-generational literacy programmes can help to create and sustain the wider culture of literacy highlighted as a major challenge in the GMR. Teaching literacy in adults’ mother tongue is critical for effective engagement, and, of course, there is an urgent need for more qualified and skilled teachers.2
We see this room full of colleagues, and countries committed to education and we are optimistic and stand proudly in partnership to meet challenges that may arise and to find innovative and creative solutions. In working together let us upscale all our efforts to ensure that “no One is left behind” “no VILLAGE is left behind” “no COUNTRY is left behind.”
2. Alan Tuckett. Unesco Literacy Awards, September 2015