Lifelong Learning (LLL), which encompasses learning at all ages and includes formal, non-formal and informal learning, has evolved into an internationally recognized and adopted system capable of playing a lead role in addressing global educational issues and development challenges.
Viet Nam has formalized its commitment to this system by developing a ‘Building a Learning Society’ strategy driven by the principles of lifelong learning. In addition to providing technical assistance to the strategy’s design and implementation, UNESCO is supporting a series of activities to enhance awareness among LLL decision makers, practitioners and professionals, with the aim of laying a strong foundation for LLL in Viet Nam.
In 2010, the office gained the commitment of Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan to make LLL a national priority in the country’s socio-economic development through presenting an extensive LLL situation analysis to the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) and other stakeholders. The situation analysis presented opportunities, challenges and barriers, discussed international experiences and gave recommendations on learning society models, mechanisms for inter-sectoral cooperation and various financing options.
In response to the situation analysis's findings that continued efforts should be made to promote LLL and position it in-line with national strategies, culture and tradition, UNESCO and its partners designed and launched an exhibition on Ho Chi Minh and Lifelong Learning. The exhibition contained almost 300 documents, exhibits, films and photos, was visited by more than 250,000 people and was duplicated in Cao Bang, Nghe An and Ho Chi Minh City.
To inform Viet Nam’s LLL strategy with international best practices, stimulate national LLL research, and further raise stakeholders’ awareness, UNESCO next hosted a three-day international conference, "Viet Nam Forum: Lifelong Learning - Building a Learning Society", along with MOET and Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Education and Research Hub for Lifelong Learning in December 2010. The Forum brought together almost 400 national and international policy makers, leading educationists, experts and researchers to share research results, perspectives and experiences. At the Forum’s close, specific recommendations were provided to the National Steering Committee on Building a Learning Society.
In the final 2010 component, fifteen MOET policy makers were provided with LLL capacity strengthening through a three-day study tour to Hamburg, Germany to work with the UNESCO Institute of Lifelong Learning (UIL) and government ministries and schools. The attendees were exposed to many examples of LLL that could be applied to Viet Nam, including teacher training and school development, non-formal education organization and outreach and family literacy programs.
In 2011, UNESCO Viet Nam is working with UIL to support MOET/CED to develop implementation guidelines to accompany the BLS Strategy 2011 – 2020. The guidelines will articulate activities and strategies in each sector and across sectors to ensure more effective implementation. UN agencies working in all sectors will be invited to provide inputs to the guidelines. UNESCO will also continue to build the capacity of the BLS committee to revise and implement its strategy through supporting sector-specific LLL activities such as the internationally-recognized LLL Celebration Week from 2 - 9 October 11.