29.06.2016 - UNESCO Office in Santiago

The Caribbean to debate youth and adult education at UNESCO conference in Jamaica

Photo: UNESCO/Daniel Martin

Enhancing Lifelong Learning Opportunities for Youth and Adults is the title of the CONFITEA VI follow-up conference that will bring together countries from the Caribbean in Jamaica. The meeting will take place on 30 June and 1 July 2016 in the Hyatt Ziva Hotel in Montego Bay, with the presence of 50 representatives of 19 countries.

The meeting seeks to be a space to discuss the progress and challenges in adult learning – a particularly relevant issue for the countries of this sub-region, who are incorporating the new Education 2030 Agenda (SDG 4) into their strategic plans for the education sector. It will be an opportunity to advance on the development of common strategies to improve adult education, to contribute to ensuring quality education with equality, and to promote lifelong learning for all.

Participants in the event will include the Minister of Education, Youth and Information of Jamaica, Senator Ruel Reid, alongside ministers of education in the English and Dutch-speaking countries, national officers working on related areas (work, health, development and youth), and representatives of youth-oriented civil society groups working on literacy, non-formal education and adult education.  Representatives of United Nations and bilateral agencies will also attend.

Some of the main objectives of the meeting include the evaluation of progress in literacy and learning achievements, focusing on the Belém Framework for Action (2009); the revision and analysis of good practices in youth and adult learning policies; an examination of the priority areas for technical assistance or capacity development in the Caribbean; and the harmonization of literacy and adult education priorities in the context of the Belém Framework for Action.

The state of the Caribbean

The meeting takes place in the context of substantial progress having been made by the Caribbean States in the development of policies, cooperation between programmes and the streamlining of resources to transform the life and educational conditions of youth and adults. The results of these interventions in improving educational attainment rates are more evident in the English-speaking Caribbean: for example, in the Caiman Islands and Trinidad and Tobago, 76% and 56% of adults respectively have completed at least secondary education. Also significant is the acknowledgement by regional governments that adult education goes beyond literacy and attaining basic skills, which has allowed for policies with a wide range of activities in adult education.

There is also a greater effort to raise awareness of the importance of adult education. Activities and programmes taking into account the changing nature of adult education and lifelong learning have therefore been strengthened. As an example, the Government of Belize has put education programmes within the reach of the adult population throughout the country. Anguilla and Saint Kitts and Nevis have appointed specific officials on adult education, and Saint Kitts has developed a Learning and Growing: The Long Term Plan 1998–2011, which includes a chapter on objectives and strategies linked to adult education as part of the general education plan.

Contacts for the event:


As the leading UN agency on education, UNESCO assists countries to develop and reform their educational systems at all levels – from early childhood, primary education, secondary education, tertiary education and up to higher education – and in all contexts (formal, non-formal and informal), for children, youth and adults.

UNESCO offers its experience in educational planning and management to help countries to ensure quality lifelong learning for all. This work includes strengthening capacities in countries towards the provision of inclusive education, together with providing technical support in the development and implementation of educational policies that respond to current challenges and are relevant for work and life.

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