Capacity building

UIL develops policy and action research, workshops and courses, case studies and other resources in order to build capacities in the field of lifelong learning, notably in adult learning and education, youth and adult literacy, and non-formal education. Our work in this area involves the development of resources, including publications, courses and visual media, the provision of workshops and other training opportunities, and bespoke support for Member States in developing policies, planning and practices in a particular area.

2021 highlights:

  • Launch of the UIL Learning Hub, which will be home to all virtual capacity-building activities of the Institute;
  • Online courses on strengthening alternative and non-formal education (ANFE) for youth and adults in English and Arabic;
  • Online course on family and intergenerational literacy and learning (FILL);
  • Measuring learning outcomes in literacy and basic skills;
  • Workshop on ‘Strengthening education systems from a lifelong learning perspective’.

UIL Learning Hub

In 2021, the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning soft-launched the UIL Learning Hub – a virtual learning platform providing advanced training, certificate courses, workshops and seminars, self-paced learning opportunities, as well as country support to UNESCO Member States and all lifelong learning stakeholders. Capacity-building of Member States representatives on lifelong learning policies and a course on strengthening ANFE for youth and adults have already been conducted via the platform. In 2022, further offers, such as a self-paced course on family literacy and intergenerational learning, will be made available.

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Strengthening education systems from a lifelong learning perspective
Women at work factory

It is essential for the sustainable future of our planet that lifelong learning – as a comprehensive organizational principle for all kinds of learning (formal, informal and non-formal) – is recognized and reflected in policies around the globe. UIL supports Member States in building learning ecosystems that work across life, in every setting and including everyone, and helps countries to translate these principles into policies and plans, and to implement them.

In 2021, UIL together with Shanghai Open University (SOU), supported the countries of Lao PDR, the Republic of Kazakhstan and Uganda in strengthening their education systems from a lifelong learning perspective. Over the course of a three-week capacity-building workshop, the third of its kind, representatives of these countries successfully drafted national lifelong learning policies and implementation strategies. In addition, a team of representatives of open universities across the People’s Republic of China devised a coordinated plan of action for the promotion of lifelong learning.

All four teams established roadmaps for the further development, finalization and implementation of their workshop output documents and UIL will continue to support them throughout this process.

Learn more about the country policies and strategies.

Strengthening alternative and non-formal education for youth and adults
woman - online learning

The skills and competencies required by today’s knowledge societies and economies are rapidly evolving to match the pace of economic, technological and social change. The need to provide learning opportunities to individuals throughout life is growing. Responding to this trend demands flexible learning pathways, strong links between formal, non-formal and informal learning, including frameworks for the recognition, validation and accreditation (RVA) of learning outcomes, and new funding mechanisms.

Many countries worldwide do not provide sufficient learning opportunities for young people and adults who are out of the formal education system. Alternative and non-formal education for youth and adults (ANFE) is often missing in Education Sector Plans (ESPs) and, as a result, suffers from a lack of policy attention and funding.

In 2021, UIL, together with the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP), responded to this challenge by:

  • contributing to developing the capacities of over 90 participants from eight English-speaking countries and 11 Arab States by way of a four-month online course;
  • guiding participants through the main steps of an ESP preparation process;
  • providing the tools to analyse the current state of ANFE in the education sector to identify gaps in service provision, demand, and opportunities for development;
  • demonstrating how to develop strategies based on the education sector analysis;
  • demonstrating how to design implementation programmes with costed activities and develop a monitoring and evaluation plan for the ESP.

The courses equipped participants with the technical knowledge and skills to ensure that the learning needs of marginalized youth and adults are reflected in sector-wide education plans and strategies within a lifelong learning perspective. In the long term, a stronger focus on ANFE in ESPs will guide the development of holistic lifelong learning systems, ensuring that all young people and adults can learn and continue learning throughout life in a changing world.

The outputs of this course will be included in the future adult education plan in Egypt, to extend the programmes for non-formal alternative education to reach out the poorest and most disadvantaged areas.
Mr Ashour Al-Amry Head of the General Authority for Adult Education in Egypt
I benefited greatly from the course both personally and professionally. It was rich with content and the course trainers were highly qualified, professional and experienced in the field. 
Ms Hanan Ahmed Hamad Director of the Follow-Up and Quality Assurance Office at the General Center for Training and Development, Ministry of Education in Libya
Family and intergenerational literacy and learning
family learning father and son

The COVID-19 crisis forced countries around the world to implement distance, technology-enabled and other forms of home-based learning. Learning within families and across generations is key in this context. Students who were unable to return to the classroom because of the pandemic often turned instead to parents, siblings and other family members for support.

Learning as a family activity contributes to developing a literate environment across generations. When adults assist children with their schoolwork and socio-emotional development, they develop their own learning and skills, including the digital skills that are increasingly needed to compete in the job market. The course UIL developed with the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), an intergovernmental organization based in Vancouver, Canada, showed participants how to make family and intergenerational literacy and learning (FILL) a reality, and, in doing so, contributed to making lifelong learning for all a reality.

What we did in 2021:

  • Built capacities in family and intergenerational literacy and learning (FILL) for over 170 participants from more than 50 countries, from civil society organizations, non-governmental providers and government institutions for literacy and early childhood education, by way of an online course implemented together with COL.

The second edition of this four-week online course introduced participants to the FILL approach, built their capacities to plan facilitators’ training and family learning sessions, and explored monitoring, evaluation and research. Participants also learned how to design a FILL programme and activities, and build partnerships. In 2022, three new self-paced and open-enrolment online courses on different components of family and intergenerational literacy and learning will be offered.

Prior to the FILL course, I saw children’s primary education and adult literacy programmes as two separate disciplines with separate aims and separate operations. But this course helped me to better understand how both disciplines could work together as one programme whose objectives would fulfil the learning needs of both children and adults.
University lecturer from India
Measuring learning outcomes in literacy and basic skills – RAMAA
hands on book

The aim of the Action Research: Measuring Literacy Programme Participants’ Learning Outcomes (RAMAA) initiative is to build the capacities of education stakeholders in 12 French-speaking African countries to evaluate and monitor the quality of youth and adult literacy programmes. Moreover, it aims to develop national capacities for evaluating learning outcomes and provide policy-makers and development partners with reliable, contextualized data about the quality of youth and adult literacy programmes.

In 2021, UIL, together with the RAMAA countries, validated test items on literacy, numeracy and life skills, and a background questionnaire. A guideline for the translation and adaptation of the items in the selected national languages was provided to the country teams and appropriated during a workshop in November 2021.