Putting LWF Into Action:
(updated 30 October, 1999)
a Summary of Strategies and Activities
Upcoming activities related to the work of LWF are listed
in the Events page.
Open Learning Environments
Learning Without Frontiers (LWF) key concept is open learning
environment. Several activities aim at developing clear ideas
and directions that help to understand what is meant with open
learning environment. The concept open learning environment
does not exclusively refer to informal and non-formal education,
but also to formal education.
Activities in this respect are:
- Reaching Unreached Learners in Mozambique: During
1997 Mozambique requested UNESCO to find a response to the needs
of its large numbers of unreached learners and to attend in an
integrated fashion to a growing diversity of learning needs.
In August 1997 an LWF team visited the country to explore learning needs and opportunities to
fulfill those needs (the mission report is also available in
The mission marked the first step of a three-phase process. The
first phase, reflected in the report above, analyzes the context
of learning needs in Mozambique and examines the resources available
to attend to such needs in a holistic manner, rather than through
isolated and partial responses to pieces of the problem. During
1998 a national team worked on the development of an operational
framework of action based on the initial analysis (only in
Portuguese). The framework of
action was operationalized (in 1999) into a project
proposal. The first part of this proposal outlines the project
and particularly concerns activities which will be implemented
in the Province of Nampula. The second document concerns the
establishment and structure of a Foundation for Learning Without
Frontiers in Mozambique, which will promote and disseminate this
concept, and which will be responsible for the implementation
of the project. The third part, which is still under preparation,
will define the modes of collaboration between the main parties
involved in this project.
- Transforming Community
Schools into Open Learning Communities: LWF is
collaborating with UNESCO's NGO Program on Literacy and Education
For All on a project to transform community schools into truely
open learning communities. The project aims to work with those
involved in researching, implementing, and designing community
schools projects around the world to further elaborate and operationalize
the concept of open learning communities. A new web site reflects
the work in progress for this activity.
- "Global Knowledge Partnership Conference" (June
1997, Toronto). Hosted by the World Bank and the Government of
Canada. LWF designed a Simulation
Game "Constructing Open Learning Communities to Inspire
a Changing World" as a learning event during the Conference.
(This is a PDF Document). Link to Global
- "Constructing Open Learning
Communities in a Changing World" (a PDF Document).
A panel discussion prepared by LWF presented at the conference
"Education, Democracy, and Development at the Turn of the
Century", Comparative and International Education Society
(CIES) (March 19-23, 1997, Mexico City)
- "Audio-Visual Materials for Illiterate Learners."
(Central America) These basic skills training packages are
aimed at providing opportunities to, among other audiences, marginalized
youth to play a meaningful role in their communities. UNESCO
San José Office, in collaboration with the Radio Netherlands
Training Centre and LWF, has produced packages:
- "Creando con barro" (pottery)
- "Tela, papel, tijeras" (textile, paper, scissors)
- "Muebles de bambu" (bamboo furniture)
- "Bloques para el progreso" (mud bricks)
- "Agricultura organica" (organic agriculture)
- "Reparaciones electricas" (electrical repair)
- "Tejas microconcreto" (concrete rooftiles)
- "Towards Building Open Learning
Communities: Re-contextualizing Teachers and Learners"
(a PDF Document). Contribution to the international conference
on Information Technology: Supporting Change Through Teacher
Education Kiryat Anavim, Israel, 30 June - 5 July 1996.
- Learning Together - Intergenerational learning in the
Arab World: Many children world wide do not live in environments
that can fulfill their basic learning needs. LWF seeks to develop
learning opportunities in the family environment, and is establishing
a project in Egypt, building on the experiences of the Dutch
In this approach children work with their parents on a daily
basis. This project is developed in close collaboration with
the Section for Early Childhood and Family Education in UNESCO
and the Dutch Government.
A workshop was held to familiarize Egyptian professionals with
the approaches of the Averroès Foundation and other approaches
to home based early childhood education.
- Preventive Education (on HIV/AIDS) for Pre-adolescents
(PEP): This pilot project under preparation aims at contributing
to the improvement of the strategies of preventive education,
viewing the role of preventive education as a way of changing
attitudes, for which the creation of a flexible and open learning
environment is conducive. Relevant and culturally appropriate
learning opportunities for teachers, pre-adolescents, community
workers and policymakers will be created in such a way that it
responds to the diverse learning needs of the target groups.
The project is developed in collaboration with UNESCO Preventive
Education Section, UNAIDS and UNFPA. It suggests three phases:
Phase one: Needs Assessment; Phase two: Development of Appropriate
Learning Opportunities for Pre-adolescents on Preventive Education,
using World Wide Web applications and Phase three: Capacity building
New Technologies for Learning
A second orientation of Learning Without Frontiers (LWF) is
to explore more specifically the opportunities of new technologies
Activities in this respect are:
- The Need For
A New Perspective: Creating Learning Networks for African Teachers,
Change, Professional Development and ICTs (also as PDF
document). Paper presented at the conference Capacity Building
for Information Technologies in Education in Developing Countries
(CapBIT) (25-29 August 1997, Harare, Zimbabwe)
- Creating Learning Networks for African Teachers: The
"Creating Learning Networks for African Teachers" project
aims to enhance the capacity of teachers and their institutions
to become more responsive to new challenges in teaching and learning,
by connecting teacher training colleges and their partners to
the Internet. At the same time the project contributes to reducing
fear and resistance to change and technology applications among
teachers (see also above), and provide
them with basic skills to use such new technologies. The
project is implemented in several phases and activities are
coordinated with, among others, the World
Links for Development Program from the World Bank.
Pilot activities were undertaken in Zimbabwe where five teacher
training colleges and their partners were provided with equipment,
connectivity and basic training. A discussion list was established
as well as a project web-site
that serves as a collaborative platform to support the initial
activities of the involved teacher training colleges. The website
links to the home pages of each of the participating colleges
and institutions. The second phase of the project in Zimbabwe
commenced with a workshop that took place mid January 1999. Apart
from this and other training activities, the second phase of
this pilot involves expansion to other teacher training colleges
as well as to schools.
In close collaboration with the UNESCO Office Dakar, the Senegalese
Ministry of Education and other partners, similar activities
as those in Zimbabwe are currently being prepared in Senegal.
Teacher training colleges have been identified, and in 1998 the
several committees who are responsible for the implementation
of the project have been established.
Currently, activities are planned for expansion of the Zimbabwe
project to Namibia. In close collaboration with the Commonwealth
of Learning, UNESCO Harare Office and the Ministry of Education
in Namibia, concrete steps are undertaken to further develop
a small-scale project in Namibia on creating learning networks
for African Teachers. For this purpose the Ministry of Education
in collaboration with the UNESCO Namibia office developed a project
- "Re-conceptualizing Learning
Environments for Sustainable Human Development: The Potential
of ICTs" In May 1998, LWF participated in the Ghana
Computer Literacy and Distance Education Conference (GhaCLAD'98)
in Accra. The materials used in the four hour session contain
among others the facilitator instructions, the used case studies.
This on-line version is the reviewed version, based on user evaluation
and our experience in Accra. (This is a PDF Document).
- "Information and Communication Technologies in Development:
a UNESCO Perspective" LWF contributed to this paper
for the UNCSTD Working Group on Information Technology for Development
and to ITU Development Study Group 1. Paris, September 1996.
- "Teachers and Other Media" Contribution
to the preparation of the working documents for the 45th session
of the International Conference on Education on Enhancing
the Role of Teachers in a Changing World. Geneva, September
- Multipurpose Community Telecenters: This project is
a joint effort of UNESCO, ITU
and IDRC, working together
with national partners in Africa to introduce, diffuse and assess
the impact of a multipurpose telecentre model for rural development
through a series of pilot projects in five African countries
- Benin, Mali, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda. The pilot projects
aim to stimulate rural development by facilitating communication
and access to information and learning resources. The telecentres
are to serve different target groups within the rural communities,
e.g. local business men and women, health and extension workers,
teachers, school children and youth out-of-school, women, local
farmers, etc. Focus will be on developing, together with potential
user groups, specific applications aimed at societal and personal
change and development.
In Mali and Uganda, all preparations are made to set up the telecentres.
A first training workshop was held in Mali, Timbouctou, to create
awareness and understanding among the education community, and
in Nakaseke (Uganda) the community came together to participate
in a Internet demonstration that connected them to Paris and
- Interactive Television for In-service
Teacher Training: UNESCO (LWF and Communications Sector)
and the International Telecommunications Union's (ITU)
project on the "Educational Use of Interactive Television"
aims to develop improved models for teaching and learning, benefiting
from the potential of Interactive Television to create an interactive
distance education environment. Currently the implementation
of the Moroccan pilot project is well underway, while preparations
are made to start in India soon. Following a joint UNESCO/ITU
feasibility mission, Cape Verde has expressed interest to develop
a pilot project as well.
A training course on the use of Interactive Television took place
in Israel (1998) organized by the Israel National Commission
for UNESCO with a.o. participants from some of the DE9 countries.
This was part of LWF's effort to coordinate activities among
the DE9 countries (see below)
- The Distance Education Initiative in nine high population
In December 1993, at the Education for All Summit in New Delhi,
the leaders of nine selected high population countries - Bangladesh,
Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan
- launched the Joint Distance Education Initiative (DE9). Covering
half the world's population and almost three quarters of its
illiterates, the nine giants identified distance education as
an important modality through which the countries could make
significant advances, working collaboratively, in major educational
issues, i.e. training of teachers, addressing learning needs
of neo-literates and out-of-school youth.
UNESCO (LWF) was asked to facilitate networking between the nine
participating countries and has, within this framework, supported
the organization of several workshops and study tours in participating
countries (India, Indonesia, Israel), and
provided technical assistance at request (Brazil, Egypt).
The five Asian DE9 countries benefit from a Asian Development
Bank funded Regional Technical Assistance (RETA) project: "Primary
School Teacher Training through Distance Education." Within
the context of this project, UNESCO organized a Regional Seminar
in Bangkok from 21 to 25 October 1996. UNESCO facilitated the
participation of the other four countries in the Seminar. The
meeting resulted in a proposal for DE9-wide training in key areas
of distance education development.
In February 1994 UNESCO organised an informal planning meeting
on distance education in the nine high-population countries in
Manilla, resulting in a DE-9 Concept Paper.
- Literacy Development through Information and Communication
Technologies: This pilot project aims at giving support to
the growth of literate societies, taking advantage of the potential
of technology as a tool to provide learning opportunities made
relevant to the needs of the community. More specifically, the
project will contribute to the broadening of access to literacy
resources, as well as the enhancement of community participation
in the development process of literacy and non-formal education
learning materials. It will support local material production,
training of grass-roots level personnel, and exchange and sharing
of information (i.e. material dissemination) through information
and communication technologies. Special attention will be paid
to the training of women and minorities. The planned activities
consist of four phases: (1) Planning, (2) Implementation, (3)
Pilot testing and (4) Review meeting.
LWF: promoting new visions on learling
The two approches come together in several activities:
- Global Youth Dialogue (GYD) GYD is an innovative project
for and with youth (between 14-25 years old), launched in January
1999 and developed in close co-operation with UNESCO's Youth
Coordination Unit. The aim of the project is to establish a dialogue
with and for young people concerning all aspects of learning
to live together in the information and knowledge society. Global
Youth Dialogue will endeavour to identify youth's needs and concerns,
establish concrete lines of action for their participation in
development, and empower young people with the means to pursue
these actions. A pilot project in Latin America was recently
established, but it is envisaged that activities will expand
to other regions of the world (e.g. Africa and Arab states).
- Panel Discussion for International Council for Distance
Education (ICDE) World Conference - "The New Learning
Environment: A Global Perspective" (June 2-6): "Learning Without Frontiers: Beyond
Open and Distance Learning."
Panel presenters and their contributions (full text accessible
through the link above):
- Jan Visser, UNESCO ED/LWF, "Learning Without Frontiers:
Beyond Open and Distance Learning"
- Stephen Anzalone, Education Development Center (EDC), "Open
Learning Environments in Developing Countries"
- Manish Jain, UNESCO ED/LWF, "Policy Considerations for
Enabling Open Learning Communities"
- Gordon Naidoo, Open Learning Systems Education Trust (OLSET),
"Educational Transformation and Open Learning Possibilities
in South Africa"
- "New Learning Technology and New Communication Environment
for New Learning Communities" Contribution to the International
Congress "City and Education in a Culture of Peace."
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 4-6 September 1996.
on Technology and Open Learning Communities":
LWF created together with the UNESCO Innovations in Basic
Education unit a portfolio of case studies which frames the opportunities
and challenges that existing and emerging technologies offer
for supporting different learners, learning needs, learning processes
and learning systems around the world. The portfolio was published
mid August 1997 as part of the joint UNICEF/UNESCO Education
for All: Making it Work project, and is available
on this web site. We invite you to read this extensive document
with contributions from many leading thinkers/practitioners,
and provide us with your comments as well as share your own experiences.
Already we have included comments and additional case studies
and opinion articles. We are looking for more contributions to
continue developing this Portfolio.
- Internet Virtual Interns
LWF has been providing research internships via the Internet
to graduate students throughout the world. this Virtual Interns
program succesfully contributed to the creation of a base of
talented and dedicated graduate students who are interested and
committed to further developing and building the Learning Without
Frontiers concept around the world. Rather than following the
model of traditional on-site internships, the program attempts
to innovatively utilize the Internet as a primary means of communication
between the intern and the LWF unit in Paris. We have had an
experimental phase during 1996/97 with students from the Harvard
University Graduate School of Education (USA), University of
Pittsburgh-School of Education (USA), and the Department of Educactional
Science, Twente University in the Netherlands. The program has
been evaluated and proved to be succesful. However, due to lack
of capacity on our side, we are unable to accomodate any new
- LWF Advisory Task Force: The LWF Advisory Task Force
has been established to advise UNESCO on the development of the
Learning Without Frontiers concept and to form a platform for
partnership building around concrete action and decision making
in LWF-related areas. A Task Force meeting was held in November
1996. The Preliminary Reflections
provide a good overview of the discussions during that meeting...
not just another report
Regional, National and Institutional Capacity Building
During the years LWF has supported several countries in their
efforts to deal with questions related to reshaping the education
paradigmas. Below is a list of workshops and seminars that were
oreganized to encourage others to co-create the LWF concept.
- In Qatar LWF collaborated with the Ministry of Education
and UNESCO's Office in the organization of a workshop to introduce
the 'learning without frontiers' concept.
- LWF implemented a two-day workshop with UNICEF (Turkey) for
30 key individuals from the Ministry of Education and Finance,
NGOs, media and communications on "Learning Without Frontiers:
The Challenge of a Changing World." The focus was geared
towards exploring how the LWF concept can be integrated into
current and future activities of the country and of implementing
organizations. Currently, we are preparing similar activities
in other countries, like Qatar.
- LWF was asked to make inputs to the programming of a Regional
Seminar on Multi-Channel Learning/Distance Education for Reaching
the Unreached in the Middle East and North Africa. Relevant information
and suggestions were provided and contacts were made to follow
up on these suggestions. LWF participated with a paper on Multi-Channel
Learning: Technological challenges and opportunities for access
- LWF facilitated a week-long interactive workshop in 1996
co-sponsored by the Aga Khan Educational Services (Pakistan)
with 50 teachers on "The Challenge of Information and Communication
Technologies in Creating a Better World." This workshop
focused on exploring how LWF concepts can be integrated into
the emerging activities of the organization and its schools.
Recently a follow-up workshop was carried out in Pakistan to
develop a programme for Teacher Centered Development.
- LWF co-sponsored a week-long workshop in 1996 with the International
Institute for Education Planning (IIEP) involving 50 participants
on "Planning and Management of Distance Education for a
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