Providing data and knowledge


We produce data and knowledge to help countries strengthen their education systems for sustainable and inclusive lifelong learning.

Understanding how to invest in and develop effective and inclusive lifelong learning systems and strategies requires data on people’s skills and the extent to which their skills enable them to participate in society. Reliable data and targeted knowledge production are at the heart of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 4 on education and lifelong learning. Through policies and programme monitoring and evaluation, high-quality data enable evidence-based policy-making to improve skills governance and learning ecosystems.

UIL produces comparable, gender-disaggregated data and findings on participants, programmes, stakeholders and policies in formal, non-formal and informal education. UIL data inform capacity-building activities in UNESCO Member States at national and local levels, as well as policy support and research. It also underpins our projects and partnerships, including the Global Alliance for Literacy within the framework of lifelong learning (GAL), the Global Alliance to Monitor Learning (GAML) and the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC).

Lifelong Learning Policies and Strategies Collection
Effective Literacy and Numeracy Practices Database – LitBase
Global Observatory of Recognition, Validation and Accreditation of Non-formal and Informal Learning

Global Report on Adult Learning and Education

The Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE), produced by UIL, provides a clear and comprehensive picture of the state of adult learning and education (ALE) around the world. It monitors whether UNESCO Member States are putting their international ALE commitments into practice. The reports combine survey data, policy analysis and case studies to provide policy-makers and practitioners with sound recommendations and examples of good practice. They present strong evidence on how ALE can help countries address current and future challenges, including the Sustainable Development Goals.

Five reports have been published since 2009. 

GRALE 5 partial cover

Global Alliance to Monitor Learning (GAML)

To meet the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), accurate global measures of learning outcomes are essential.

The Global Alliance to Monitor Learning (GAML), an initiative led by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), supports national strategies for measuring learning, and enables international reporting related to SDG 4. Since the inception of GAML, the UIL has taken a lead role in monitoring SDG indicator 4.6.1. (‘Ensure that all youth and a substantial proposition of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy’). UIL, together with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation (OECD), chairs Taskforce 4.6 and convenes meetings of experts and partners to advance conceptual, methodological and reporting frameworks for measuring and monitoring adult literacy and numeracy.

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Higher education institutions' contribution to lifelong learning

While the university sector constitutes a huge potential for promoting lifelong learning, its actual contribution remains unclear. Many universities continue to prioritize academic excellence and research with less attention being paid to teaching and providing lifelong learning opportunities to the community. Achieving the vision expressed in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 will hence require a substantial transformation of higher education institutions (HEIs), in particular universities.

To provide guidance to policy-makers and HEIs, UIL and Shanghai Open University (SOU) are conducting a comprehensive research project on the contribution of universities and other HEIs to lifelong learning.

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everyday-life Practices and Skills Survey (e-PASS)

The Survey of Everyday-Life Practices and Skills (e-PASS) is a simple, cost-effective, flexible and practical method for assessing the literacy and numeracy skills of individuals aged 15 and older. It provides reliable and comparable information based on sound methodology to national and international policy-makers to assist them in planning, developing and monitoring programmes. The e-PASS methodology and tools enable Member States to generate data for reporting on SDG 4 Indicator 4.6. to support knowledge and capacity-building in participating countries.

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