Key publications

Learning to be: the world of education today and tomorrow

Edgar Faure (1972) 

“Lifelong education” and “the learning society” were the two key ideas of the report of the Faure Commission. The former was considered as the keystone of educational policies; the latter as a strategy aimed at committing society as a whole to education. The approach was based on the idea of osmosis between education and society, and sought to steer clear of a number of misconceptions such as the ideas of education as a “sub-system” of society, of instruction as a tool for solving all individual and social problems, and of the compartmentalization of life into “learning time” and “time for living”. 

The report focuses on learning, a process that goes beyond education, and a fortiori, teaching. Education and teaching are described as dimensions that are subordinate to the learning process. School and out-of-school activities (formal, non-formal and informal education) are treated without hierarchical distinction, and the importance of basic education for all is taken as a premise: “learning is a process that lasts a lifetime, both in its duration and its diversity”. 

However, the Faure Commission did not regard lifelong education as a process of permanent schooling, adult education or continuous vocational training. It was seen neither as an educational system nor an educational field, but rather as “a principle on which the overall organization of a system and hence the elaboration of each of its parts, are based”. Lifelong education is a need that is common to everyone.   The Faure Report

Asher Deleon
Executive secretary of the Faure Commission
Excerpt from ‘Learning to be in retrospect’,
The UNESCO Courier, April 1996

Learning: the treasure within. Report to UNESCO of the International Commission of the twenty-first century

Jacques Delors (1996)

The Delors Commission did its best to project its thinking on to a future dominated by globalization, to ask the right questions and to lay down some broad guidelines that can be applied both within national contexts and on a global scale. Here I shall examine four issues which I believe are crucial. 

The first issue is the capacity of education systems to become the key factor in development by performing a threefold function – economic, scientific and cultural. The second one is the ability of education systems to adapt to new trends in society. This brings us to one of the fundamental responsibilities of education – having to prepare for change despite the growing insecurity that fills us with doubts and uncertainties. The third issue is that of the relations between the education system and the state. The fourth issue is the promulgation of the values of peace. Can education purport to be universal? Can it by itself, as a historical factor, create a universal language that would make it possible to overcome certain contradictions, [...] and despite their diversity, convey a message to all the inhabitants of the world? 

The creation of a language accessible to everyone would mean that people would learn to engage more readily in dialogue, and the message that this language would convey would have to be addressed to human beings in all their aspects. A message that claims to be universal – one of education’s lofty ambitions – must be conveyed with all the subtle qualifications that take full account of human being’s infinite variety. This is no doubt our major difficulty.  Highlights of the Delors Report 

Jacques Delors
From ‘Education for Tomorow’
The UNESCO Courrier, April 1996.

The World Education Report

Before the series of Global Monitoring Reports on Education for All began in 2001, the World Education Reports appeared regularly in the early 1990s.

The first of this biennial series (1991) aims to present broad but concise analysis of major trends and policy issues in education in the world today and reviews the worldwide expansion of enrolments in formal education over the last two decades, focusing especially on basic education and on continuing challenges for educational policy in that area.

The last Report of the series (2000) focuses on the right to education. Its aim is to contribute towards a better international understanding of the nature and scope of the right to education as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to complement the assessment of progress towards Education for All goals undertaken by the World Forum on Education for All.  World Education Report

The four other reports address:

  • 1998: Teachers and teaching in a changing world 
  • 1995: The education of women and girls; challenges to pedagogy; education for peace, human rights and democracy
  • 1993: Overcoming the knowledge gap; expanding educational choice; searching for standards
  • 1991: World educational growth since 1970; continuing challenges; emerging prospects and issues

The Education for All Global Monitoring Report

The Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report, produced by an independent team led by UNESCO, is the world’s foremost publication on progress towards the six EFA goals. Serving as a unique policy tool for decision-makers, the Report aims to inform, influence and sustain commitment towards EFA, spurring governments and donors to rise to the challenge of meeting education goals.  

The ninth edition of the Education for All Global Monitoring Report (The hidden crisis: Armed conflict and education) documents the devastating effects of armed conflict on education. It examines the widespread human rights abuses keeping children out of school. The Report challenges an international aid system that is failing conflict-affected states, with damaging consequences for education.  Education For All Global Monitoring Report

The eight other reports :
2010: Marginalization | 2009: Governance | 2008: EFA Mid-term review
2007: Early Childhood  | 2006: Literacy | 2005: Quality | 2003/2004: Gender
2002: EFA on Track?


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