A dialogue on Adult Literacy and Learning for Social Transformation

The UNESCO Addis Ababa Liaison Office and UNESCO IICBA held a meeting with Professor Anna Robinson-Pant, UNESCO Chair programme in Adult Literacy and Learning for Social Transformation from the University of East Anglia. The meeting commenced with words of welcome from Director Dr. Yumiko Yokozeki and was facilitated by the UNESCO Addis Ababa Liaison Office Education Project Coordinator Mr. Samuel Asnake. The UNESCO Chair team at Bahir Dar University was represented at the meeting by the Coordinator Mrs. Turuwark Zalalam Warkineh, Mr. Abiy Menkir Gizaw and Dr. Genet Gelena Kabeta. 

The UNESCO Chairs aims to advance research, training and programme development in higher education by building institutional networks and encouraging inter-institutional cooperation through transfer of knowledge across borders. Professor Robinson-Pant gave an introduction of the UNESCO Chair in Adult Literacy and learning for social transformation, specifically the collaborative programme with a scope to ‘strengthen research and teaching capacity in adult literacy and lifelong learning’. The Chair is in partnership between the University of East Anglia (UK), University of Bahir Dar (Ethiopia), Ain Shams University (Egypt) and Kathmandu University/ Tribhuvan University Research Center for Educational Innovation and Development (Nepal).

The session then moved into a discussion wherein Professor Robinson-Pant emphasized the need for inter-sectoral cooperation in order to achieve Adult Literacy and the topic was thoroughly discussed with IICBA and each of UNESCO’s thematic sectors bringing their perspective. Opportunities for inter-sectoral collaboration for example, through informal learning, gender mainstreaming, intangible culture and Digital & Mobile literacy, multilingual education was explored. IICBA stressed the need for competent teachers who would play a critical role in adult literacy as well as community engagement.

The meeting concluded with an energized atmosphere of yet-to-be explored platforms for collaboration on adult education and lifelong learning involving each thematic facet of UNESCO.