CONFINTEA Mid-Term Review 2003
Six Years After CONFINTEA V: Status and Future Prospects of Adult Learning

Reports (Booklets) on CONFINTEA V Thematic Workshops CONFINTEA V Documents 
Hamburg Declaration     Agenda for the Future     Final Report
General Introduction
Elements of the Mid-Term Review A Common Grid for Reporting Areas of Analysis and Reporting Some Guidelines for Writing the Report Structure of the Report
Country Review
Thematic Review
NGO/CSO Reviews
Regional Reviews
The International Mid-Term Review  Conference Participation Provisional Timetable

General Introduction

WHAT: The CONFINTEA V Mid-Term Review is a systematic effort to monitor the recommendations and commitments contained in the two important policy documents, the Hamburg Declaration and the Agenda for the Future, that were adopted by the Fifth International Conference on Adult Learning held in Hamburg in 1997. The CONFINTEA commitments are gaining new relevance in light of the Dakar Framework for Action. Both conferences made a strong commitment to an expanded understanding of basic education which aims at meeting basic learning needs for all, within and outside schools and throughout life.

WHY: In order to plan longer term actions to ensure that the commitments made at CONFINTEA V are being translated into reality, the Mid-Term Review is being undertaken to take stock of all monitoring activities in adult learning since 1997, as well as new emerging issues at the country, NGO/CSO, regional, international level, as well as in the field of different themes.

HOW: Various partners and stakeholders are asked to prepare reviews from their area of activity and responsibility with respect to a common grid of reporting. All these reviews (for the different elements of the Mid-Term Review see below) will be inputs to a major conference  which will give all stakeholders and the adult learning community the opportunity to reaffirm their commitment and expand their activities, and to closely link them to the implementations of the Dakar Framework for Action and the United Nations Literacy Decade. The review should be seen as an opportunity to assess the development of the visions, processes and strategies they articulated within the broader framework of lifelong learning and to give a new impetus and relevant frame to the Dakar Framework for Action and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

WHO: Country Reviews will be produced by the National Commissions of UNESCO Member States, Thematic Reviews by respective networks and interest groups, NGO/CSO reports by international and national NGOs. Overall coordination is with the UNESCO Institute for Education. An international advisory group has been created to prepare, accompany and back up the process.

WHEN: The country, NGO/CSO and thematic reviews shall be finalized until the end of July 2003 to be presented to the International CONFINTEA V Mid-Term Conference in Bangkok, Thailand from 6 to 11 September 2003.

Elements of the Mid-Term Review

The Mid-Term Review will be carried out at

Reviews at all the above mentioned levels will use the same framework around the ten themes as well as priority issues relevant to each region, country, and thematic networks.

Country Review

 The focus will be on in-country activities, undertaken by government in collaboration with other national stakeholders. It will also capture and include activities led by NGOs / Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), private sector and other partners in co-operation with government. Governments need to provide reliable data to describe the situation of adult learning in their countries. The reviews should contain clear statements, supported by statistics, budgets allocated and institutional support mechanisms, in conjunction with the common grid as well as the cross-cutting issues that have been provided to them.
Linking person at UIE: Madhu Singh

Thematic Review

Thematic reviews will be conducted at the national, regional and international level. They will also be conducted by networks and interest groups formed to give impetus and promote policy and action in one of the specific thematic fields. Real cases need to highlight how the CONFINTEA vision has been translated into reality and what principles have helped to translate the goals into actual practice? In what ways were countries, groups and institutions able to advance and advocate the core messages made in the Agenda for the Future and the Hamburg Declaration?

While the thematic review will deal with all 10 CONFINTEA themes, however new and emerging themes and networks need to be identified. What are these issues? How do they relate to the ones dealt with during CONFINTEA? How are the existing networks and their programmes and provisions responding to new issues? What are the changes that these networks can report on?  How are they disseminating new practices? How are they working with the government, and influencing policies and innovations?  What recommendations can be drawn from their experience and what is the relevance of their work?

There is a need to think about priority issues that are going to engage adults in the coming years and the issues that need to be advanced through the ideas and visions of CONFINTEA.  It is necessary to ask how these priority issues have been dealt with from a lifelong learning perspective at the country and regional levels. Again, real cases should illustrate how adult learning has been useful, for example in combating HIV-AIDS; alleviating poverty and promoting sustainable development; creating lifelong learning communities, in cultivating peace, and preventing and solving conflicts.
Linking Person at UIE: Marc-Laurent Hazoumé
Areas of Thematic Review Linking Person at UIE
Adult Learning, Democracy, Peace and Critical Citizenship Marc-Laurent Hazoumé
Carolyn Medel-Añonuevo
Improving Conditions and Quality of Adult Learning Lisa Krolak
Werner Mauch
Literacy and Basic Education  Marc-Laurent-Hazoumé
Adama Ouane
Ulrike Hanemann
Promoting the Empowerment of Women Carolyn Medel-Añonuevo
Adult Learning and the Changing  World of Work Madhu Singh
Adult Learning, Environment, Health (incl. HIV/AIDS) and Population  Werner Mauch
Carolyn Medel-Añonuevo
Adult Learning, Media and Culture and ICTs  Bettina Bochynek
Lisa Krolak
Adult Learning and Groups with Special Needs: Adult Learning for Ageing Populations, Migrants, Prisoners, Persons with Disabilities, Indigenous Communities and Cultural Minorities Ulrike Hanemann (Indigenous Peoples, Minorities), 
Carolyn Medel-Añonuevo (Migrants)
Gonzalo Retamal (Refugees)
Marc de Maeyer (Prisoners, Persons with Disabilities)
Economics of Adult Learning: Adult Learning  Seen as an Investment  Adama Ouane
Gonzalo Retamal
Enhancing International Co-operation, Solidarity and Networking for and through Adult Learning Adama Ouane

NGO/CSO Reviews

In addition to each country review containing a national review of NGO activities in adult learning, two separate reviews from the perspective of civil society are also planned. One is being carried out by the International Council for Adult Education (ICAE) in 20 countries, highlighting five thematic areas:  the right to literacy, active citizenship and human rights, work-related adult learning, health education, and learning in environmental development. The other civil society review is being conducted by the UNESCO Collective Consultation of NGOs in Education for All (CC/NGOs/EFA), assessing progress on the CONFINTEA commitments at regional level.
Linking person at UIE: Bettina Bochynek

Regional Reviews

Four regional meetings (Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean) were held for the purpose of analysing and exchanging views and experiences on policy and action on the changes and development of adult learning. They generated useful and specific information pertaining to these regions, but highlighting also cross-national thematic concerns and country specificities. They also attempted to bring together the achievements of EFA goals with the CONFINTEA Agenda and the main issues and trends related to lifelong learning. For the Arab region a state of the art research will be developed jointly by UIE and UNEDBAS. The preliminary report will be submitted in September to the Mid-Term Review in Thailand. Given the present situation in the region it is uncertain to define a date during 2003 for a regional review meeting.
Linking Person at UIE: Carolyn Medel-Añonuevo

The International Mid-Term Review Conference

The International Mid-Term Review Conference to be held from 6 to 11 September 2003 in Bangkok, Thailand, will provide an opportunity to discuss a synthesis of country reports, reports of the regional meetings, reviews of existing themes and new emerging issues, as well as the NGO/CSO reviews, global syntheses and life histories of adult educators and learners. Links will be established between country, regional, international and the thematic levels. In addition to government representatives, universities and researcher in the field of adult learning will have an important role in the meeting. The objectives of the conference are to:

  1. take-stock of the recent development in adult learning and take corrective measures on future course of action
  2. arrive at an operational strategy to set targets for 2009
  3. articulate more closely CONFINTEA Declaration and Agenda with the Dakar Framework for Action and the Millennium Development Goals
  4. develop new recommendations and suggestions for future directions on adult learning
The Conference will include plenaries, regional and international forums, thematic workshops, an exhibition on new initiatives and innovations in adult learning world-wide as well as Learners’ celebratory events. The conference will be preceded with pre-conference thematic workshops and policy dialogues. It will provide an open forum and develop new instruments to promote adult learning in the framework of lifelong learning and in pursuance of Dakar Education for All Framework for Action (EFA) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Participation in the Review Conference is foreseen especially for all those who contributed to the overall review process, i.e. members of national delegations nominated by the National UNESCO Commissions, representatives from the thematic networks that undertake respective reviews, and representatives of Non-governmental Organizations/Civil Society Organizations in connection with the NGO/CSO review. The national commissions have been encouraged to organize national consultations leading to a national review forum involving a wider spectrum of organizations and stakeholders from the field of adult learning.

Formal invitations will be issued by UIE according to nominations by the respective national commissions or following the recommendation from thematic networks and/or coordinators. In special cases selected participants from developing countries can receive financial support on request and with recommendation from the responsible coordinator/network/organisation.

For the provisional timetable of the conference click here

Linking Person at UIE: Werner Mauch

A Common Grid for Reporting

In order to arrive at convincing and compelling reporting of the situation and progress made in adult learning, at the country, NGO/CSO, regional, international and thematic level, a common grid of critical indicators is recommended by the international advisory group set up to animate this process.

The common grid has the important aim of making the review of adult learning a part of a self-sustaining process of continuous evaluation, sustainable monitoring and data collection at the country level, not a one-shot, piecemeal and ad hoc activity. An important dimension of review is therefore to set in motion a National Reporting System until 2009 (CONFINTEA VI). Even where countries may not have appropriate data bases and reporting and evaluation systems, the review aims to stimulate governments and stakeholders to collect core statistics on literacy, non-formal education, adult and lifelong learning, see how adult learning has evolved in the last six years, and point to new course of action.

The grid is to serve as an important methodological tool for collecting baseline information. This will help to overcome the big gap that currently exists in collection of systematic statistical data and benchmarks on the progress of adult learning. It allows for a more open-ended method of reporting than one that entails a procedure of filling out questionnaires. The common grid for reporting is also being proposed in order to set up a complementary monitoring process that will continuously feed the EFA overall monitoring and Global Report with relevant data on literacy, non-formal education, adult and lifelong learning. It will integrate CONFINTEA V Agenda into the six EFA goals, especially in relation to adult literacy, gender, improving quality, life skills and sustainable development, within the overall perspective of lifelong learning.

The grid or indicators will be common to all reports – at the country, regional, international and thematic level. It consists of the following eight different cross-cutting issues as areas of analysis and reporting:

Areas of Analysis and Reporting

For the sake of analysis and assessing progress, certain cross-cutting issues below should be taken into account as organising principles for common reporting.

1) Progress towards quality adult learning
There is need to put emphasis on quality improvement in adult learning, reflected in conducive dynamic learning environment, focus on learning outcomes and impact on people’s lives and well-being. This requires documenting, periodically evaluating achievement and monitoring and controlling quality, and using holistic indicators, relevant, robust and easy to use. The report should highlight all these issues as they relate to existing practices.

2) Emerging concerns, new major trends and challenges
Whereas all the reviews are first and foremost a factual assessment of the way the various stakeholders have implemented the Agenda for the Future at all levels, they also have the important task of recognising new trends and developments that must be taken into account for the essential restructuring of a longer-term strategy of adult and lifelong learning.

3) Statistics and collecting baseline information and data on Adult Learning
Benchmark information and statistical data on particular themes, issues and good practices should be provided to whatever extent possible. Some of this data can be drawn from international organisations that already have considerable amount of statistical data. Where comprehensive databases on adult learning are lacking, indications should be given as to how this is being tackled by governments and other stakeholders.

4) Research Studies in the Field
Reporting on relevant developments should be backed by research findings from the field. The objective of this element is to collect and document available convincing data in order to present  convincing arguments for several purposes, e.g. to make a case for more investments in adult education.

5) Partnerships between various stakeholders
The review should necessarily reflect partnerships between various stakeholders. Stakeholders in  include governments, NGO networks, Interagency UNDAF and EFA national teams. Again, roles and responsibilities of the actors will need to be clearly defined. The review should take into account the role of the private sector. It is also important to take into account consultations of social partners (trade unions, employers and the education system).

6) The role and function of  NGOs and CSOs
CONFINTEA V was a landmark because it propagated the idea of the shared responsibility of all stakeholders, the state-civil society co-operation, the promotion of participation through active and critical citizenship and accountability of all. The role of NGOs and CSOs to that end in the learning practices within the respective area should be highlighted.

7) Future actions planned 2003-2009
The review should contain actions and proposals that offer forward-looking perspectives, and set concrete objectives and identify new targets until 2009.  It should also point to new directions and offer a new course of action.

8) New Draft Recommendations
The review gives an opportunity to Governments, NGOs, private sector and all partners to reflect on the Hamburg recommendations and to propose new ones in the context of changing and new emerging issues. A draft document embedding these new recommendations will be adopted during the International Mid-term Review Conference and a draft resolution submitted to the UNESCO’s 32nd General Conference in October 2003.

Some Guidelines for Writing the Report

The Ten CONFINTEA V Themes

  1.  Adult Learning, Democracy, Peace and Critical Citizenship
  2. Improving Conditions and Quality of Adult Learning
  3. Literacy and Basic Education
  4. Promoting the Empowerment of Women
  5. Adult Learning and the Changing  World of Work
  6. Adult Learning, Environment, Health and Population
  7. Adult Learning, Media and Culture and ICTs
  8. Adult learning and Groups with Special Needs: Adult Learning for Ageing Populations, Migrants, Prisoners, Persons with Disabilities, Indigenous Communities and Cultural Minorities
  9. Economics of Adult Learning: Adult learning  seen as an Investment
  10. Enhancing International Co-operation, Solidarity and Networking for and through Adult Learning
Find here the Hamburg Declaration and the Agenda for the Future. Please make reference to the commitments made therein and give an assessment of how they have been implemented and the results achieved. Reports on thematic CONFINTEA workshops are available here.

Structure of the Report

Chapter 1: Building up Structures and Institutional Frameworks: Policies, Legal Provisions, Delivery System and Innovations
1.0 Policies, legal provisions, delivery system and innovations (e.g. accreditation of prior informal and non-formal learning; second chance courses, diversification of provision and content; decentralising decisions regarding needs identification, content of adult learning, mobilisation and use of resources, etc. Are education policies integrated with economic, social, health, employment policies? Which information, guidance and management systems are available? Which political objectives can be identified (e.g. fostering equality and access, serving special groups, meeting learning needs and demands of individuals, groups and communities)?.

Chapter 2: Increasing Investment in Adult Learning
2.0 Level and status of investment in adult learning: statistics on participation and institutional grants; policies and strategies that promote public investment in adult learning and mobilise private sector ressources; list of contributions by all stakeholders.

Chapter 3: Increasing Participation
3.0 Information on new quantitative indicators of participation (persons and groups) in adult education; numbers and resources for specific beneficiary or participating groups. How has increased participation been made possible? Specify programmes and activities and innovative cases.

Chapter 4: Research Studies in the field of Adult Learning
4.0 Information on research studies being undertaken in the field of adult learning. What are the key questions addressed? Indication of main results/findings. How is research informing policies and practice?

Chapter 5: Adult Educators/Facilitators’ Status and Training
5.0 Statistics on different categories of adult educators and facilitators (number, salaries, duration, and places of training). Specific activities and programmes aimed at improving conditions of adult educators; training policies, improving quality of training through the use of new methods; professionalisation and networking of adult educators.

Chapter 6: Empowering Adult Learners
6.0 Rights of learners, learner-centred curriculum, development of context and culturally relevant content, and evaluation of learning outcomes and impact on socio-economic development. Are there assessment systems to measure adult learning outcomes (literacy, numeracy, life skills etc)? If yes, can you describe processes and activities in this field? What quality indicators have been developed and what are the outcomes obtained?

Chapter 7: Examples of Best Practice and Innovations
7.0 Examples of real cases, good practice and innovative approaches in relation to the ten CONFINTEA V themes.

Chapter 8: Future Actions and Concrete Targets for 2009
8.0 Future actions planned and concrete targets for 2009. In 2009 the 6th international Conference on Adult Learning is to be held; indicate to what extent your targets coincide with EFA targets  and how Millennium Development Goals and other international targets are aimed at and met through adult learning.

Please send reports to: UIE