Lifelong Learning opportunities for all
UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning - 17/03/2022
As we approach the culmination of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the global challenges facing humanity remain immense. The climate crisis is the primary imperative for sustained collective action but technological transformation, demographic change, health crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the new and fast-evolving world of work are also pressing concerns in this third decade of the twenty-first century. Lifelong learning is key to overcoming these global challenges and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
The 2021 Futures of Education report calls for a new social contract for education, with recognition of an extended right to education throughout life. It represents an important restatement of the principles of UNESCO, and particularly its historic focus on our shared humanity, the universal right to education and its rich potential in addressing social, economic and political challenges. The need for a formal recognition of a universal entitlement to lifelong learning was also highlighted in the United Nations Secretary General’s Common Agenda report (also published in 2021) and is increasingly an avowed priority of the global development agenda for education, labour, human rights and sustainability.
It is in this context that the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) advances its strategy for the next eight years. With this new Medium-Term Strategy (MTS), UIL aims to strike a balance between priorities rooted in the challenges faced by the global community and this new and emerging thinking about – and interest in – lifelong learning. The world must embrace lifelong learning if we are to build fairer societies and a sustainable world.
The strategy sets out how UIL will strengthen the capacities of Member States to build effective and inclusive lifelong learning policies and systems, explaining in detail the operational modalities through which it will deliver its work.
UIL’s programmes will focus on three thematic priorities, carefully honed to reflect the challenges of our time: building quality learning ecosystems; fostering skills for life, work and learning; and ensuring that no-one is left behind. Through these priorities, the Institute aims to build learning ecosystems that work across life, in every setting and benefit everyone, including, crucially, women and girls.
We are in an era of challenge and transition. This document sets out an ambitious agenda for UIL and for lifelong learning, a roadmap through which we can play our part in delivering against the commitments of the UN’s Common Agenda and the vision of the International Commission on the Futures of Education.
We are approaching the midpoint of the 2030 Agenda. This Medium-Term Strategy will finish as it nears its end point, at a moment when the extent of its success or failure will be clear. Until then, guided by its strategy, UIL will strive to keep lifelong learning high on the policy agenda and to support countries in achieving their educational aspirations and goals in the context of a new social contract for education. The Institute will do this by building capacities at local and national levels, strengthening partnerships, and offering data and knowledge. Our call to Member States, institutional partners, donors and other stakeholders is this: Work with us to deliver the promise of lifelong learning
Daniel Baril, Chair of the Governing Board of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong learning
Sarah Anyang Agbor, Vice Chair of the Governing Board of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong learning