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About us

Non-formal Education and Life Long Learning - About us

Literacy in youth and adulthood is the price people and countries pay for past failures of education systems. Despite steady progress, as of 2010 there are a total of 796 million adult illiterates in the world out of 518 million reside in Asia-Pacific region. Of the total illiterate adults two-thirds are women. While gender parity is improving, women and other disadvantaged groups are still being denied their light to literacy. About 72 million children do not have a chance to attend school.

In the Asia and Pacific region, there are 518 million adult illiterates accounting for 65.7  per cent of the world's illiterate population. Illiteracy usually attacks the most vulnerable people in society. Illiteracy rates are higher among ethnic and linguistic minorities and people living in remote areas.

Literacy is crucial to the acquisition of essential life skills that enables us to address the challenges we face in life. Ensuring literacy skills for all people will pave the way for every member of the society to participate in a range of learning opportunities throughout life. Creation of literate environments and societies is the foundation for "lifelong learning for all" and a tool for empowering individuals and their communities.

During the last two decades, some countries in the Asia and Pacific region have made significant progress in literacy. Many countries are recognizing the importance of continuing education as an essential extension to literacy to promote human development and lifelong learning. Continuing education is expected to become even more urgent and important as it provides the main vehicle for learning to cope with the rapid changes that are taking place in the new century. Continuing education must be seen as a productive investment resulting in positive returns, not only in terms of economic growth, but also in improvement of quality of life and the overall development of society. Continuing education is of particular importance to out-of-school youth and neo-literate adults.

Responding to the needs in the region, UNESCO supports Member States in the training of personnel, development of curriculum and teaching/learning materials to enhance the provision of education through non formal modes. Since 1990s, UNESCO has promoted community-based learning through the development of Community Learning Centres (CLCs) as effective local institutions outside the formal education sysytems. In villages and urban slum areas , these CLCs are usually established and managed by people from local communities. 

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Equitable Education Hub, a knowledge hub for achieving equity in education has been opened. This platform contains the basic information on the topics related to equitable education (Knowledge tab), applicable models, practices, and resources for professionals; Educators and Education Leaders (Toolboxes), learning opportunities (Online Courses and Videos), Events and information about Equitable Education Alliance, a community of practitioners for organizations working closely with equity and inclusion solutions for education.

We hope to collaborate with you, so if you have tools for toolboxes, events to be shared, job openings, practical research cases, best practices or news to share, don’t hesitate to be in touch through our Equity Ed Hub website! 

Platform is developed by UNESCO Bangkok, in a project in collaboration with the Equitable Education Fund (EEF), UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office (UNICEF EAPRO), UNICEF Thailand, Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) and Save the Children.

For weekly curated content, subscribe to our newsletter for Educators or Education Leaders! Educators Newsletter contains best practices, models, and applicable approaches for classroom use, relevant for anyone working directly with learners – young or old! Education Leader Newsletter focuses on local, provincial, or national level interventions, models, and leadership to enhance learning for all, together with research pieces and relevant innovative benchmarks! Both newsletters contain timely events, career opportunities and updates from our partners – you are encouraged to share yours!

To offer enhanced support for implementation and capacity building, UNESCO Bangkok Lifelong Learning and Literacy team is developing an online course on equitable education, which you will hear first by following us in Equitable Education Hub page on Facebook.

For potential partnering queries and more information contact: 

Ilja Riekki
Junior Professional Officer,
Non-Formal Education and Literacy;
Educational Innovation and Skills Development (EISD),
UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education (UNESCO Bangkok)