Ravindra Dave, who took up the post of Director in October 1979, sought to link research and training more closely. At the same time he set out to build up a network of experts and institutions in order to make the work of the Institute accessible to a wide audience as effectively as possible.
At the end of 1980, a study was launched into the development of learning strategies in post literacy and continuing education provision for neo-literates in developing countries. This project brought together the two areas of particular interest of the Institute, the promotion of education in developing countries and learning as a lifelong process. The project, in which Bangladesh, Brazil, Burma, Cuba, India, Mali, Nigeria, Tanzania, Venezuela and the United Kingdom took part, was greeted with great international interest and was the start of the activities and regional seminars on this topic conducted by UIE between 1981 and 1986 in Hamburg, Caracas, New Delhi and Nairobi.
These research-oriented training seminars were addressed to practitioners who were responsible in their countries for the development and implementation of literacy, post-literacy and continuing education programmes.
from 89 countries took part in these seminars, and management and information systems were set up in 30 countries. Annual inter-regional seminars were held in Hamburg from 1987. The contacts made at this time were brought together in a Literacy Exchange Network.
in the fields of literacy and out-of-school education
One milestone in the history of UNESCO educational activities was the world education conference held in Jomtien, Thailand, in 1990. UIE was assigned a series of follow-up activities in order to implement the call made at the conference for ‘Education for All’. In 1992, for example, UIE carried out an education project on non-formal approaches to primary education, which was specially tailored for developing countries. This was concerned with matters such as the development of methods allowing a single teacher to look after a class of 90 or more pupils. UIE also undertook research into the importance of using the mother tongue in formal and non-formal education. It played a part in evaluating empirical studies on functional illiteracy in eight European and North American, and six Latin American countries.
UIE was one of the first institutions to call attention to the problem of functional illiteracy in industrialized countries by holding research and information seminars from the mid-80s. Between 1985 and 1988, a series of case studies were conducted on functional illiteracy in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. A special research series under the title ‘ALPHA’ was devoted exclusively to this topic. In 1990, a seminar was held on functional illiteracy in Eastern and Western Europe, and a year later, a seminar on adult illiteracy in industrialized countries.