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Slide background


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by heads of state, government leaders and high-level UN and civil society representatives in September 2015 as an action plan for ‘people, planet and prosperity’. The Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have reinvigorated the concept of lifelong learning, in particular with one stand-alone goal – SDG 4 – which calls on countries to ‘ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’. It represents a significant step forward in recognizing education and lifelong learning as important drivers of sustainable development. A growing number of UNESCO Member States regard lifelong learning for all as essential to their education goals and development frameworks.

However, for many countries, the concept of lifelong learning remains unclear, comprehensive policy frameworks for promoting lifelong learning are inconsistent, and implementation of lifelong learning programmes are deficient. Consequently, there has been increasing demand from Member States for guidance to strengthen their capacities in making lifelong learning for all the conceptual framework and organizing principle of their education systems.

In response to this demand, the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) organizes a series of workshops on developing capacities for establishing lifelong learning systems in Member States. The first such workshop took place in Shanghai in 2018, with participants from Indonesia, Kenya, Namibia and Viet Nam. Throughout the two-week workshop, each national team worked on the development of a draft proposal for a country-based policy or strategy to support the process of establishing lifelong learning-oriented education systems. The teams were supported in this process with input from key experts and UIL staff, who also guided them in the development of their draft policy or strategy.

The second workshop is similarly targeted at policy-makers and leading researchers. It will take place from 28 October to 8 November 2019 with participants from China; the Philippines; Cambodia and Rwanda. It will be co-organized by UIL in partnership with the National Commission of the People's Republic of China for UNESCO and Shanghai Open University. The goal of the workshop is to increase participants’ capacity to develop education systems oriented towards lifelong learning.


The specific objectives of the workshop are to:

  • promote a sound conceptual understanding of lifelong learning in the context of the SDGs among leading policy-makers, and advocate the integration of the lifelong learning perspective into educational policies in the participant countries;
  • identify existing policies and strategies focused on establishing lifelong learning systems in these countries;
  • identify and discuss approaches and mechanisms in implementing lifelong learning;
  • share experiences between countries and create synergies regarding cooperation and coordinated development of lifelong learning systems;
  • plan concrete actions to achieve SDG 4.

Main activities

The participating countries are expected to form a national team comprising seven to eight members, who will work together with the resource persons to:

  • analyse development contexts in the participating countries, including political, legal, social, economic, demographic, technological, cultural and environmental contexts;
  • review existing education policies in the relevant countries with regard to progress, impacts, opportunities, challenges, lessons learned, and so on;
  • identify national priorities for lifelong learning, which may include (1) legal frameworks to support policies with a lifelong learning perspective; (2) surrounding policy infrastructure for an adaptable lifelong learning system, including flexible learning pathways, national qualifications frameworks and the recognition, validation and accreditation of learning outcomes; (3) opportunities for lifelong learning implementation at the local level, including learning cities and rural areas; (4) all modalities of learning (formal, non-formal and informal) and the roles of different learning institutions; (5) different sub-sectors, from early childhood care and education to tertiary, technical and vocational education and training (TVET), and adult learning and education (ALE); (6) learning and education on cross-cutting issues (e.g., literacy, basic skills and professional skills development, employability, global citizenship education, sustainable development, learning opportunities for refugees and migrants, gender equality, health promotion, HIV/AIDS prevention, and sexual education); (7) quality assurance of education and learning; and (8) information and communication technology (ICT) and open learning approaches;
  • form an action plan for the implementation of gender-responsive lifelong learning policies and strategies in the participating countries. This should include roles and responsibilities across all levels of government and other stakeholders, as well coordination mechanisms for collaboration, mobilization and allocation of financial resources, and innovative funding mechanisms;
  • develop monitoring and evaluation strategies in the participating countries, focusing on how to monitor implementation, assess outcomes and measure impact.

At the end of the workshop, each national team will deliver a draft proposal for a country-based policy and strategy to promote and implement lifelong learning.


UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL)
The National Commission of the People’s Republic of China for UNESCO
Shanghai Open University

Supporting Organization
Shanghai Municipal Centre for the Construction, Service and Guidance Centre of Learning Society

Working language

Dates and venue
Dates: 28 October to 8 November 2019
Venue: Shanghai Open University


Ms. Mo Wang
Programme Specialist
UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning
Feldbrunnenstr. 58
20148 Hamburg, Germany
Tel.: +49 40 44 80 41 27

Mr. Alex Howells
Assistant Programme Specialist
UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning
Feldbrunnenstr. 58
20148 Hamburg, Germany
Tel.: +49 40 44 80 41 31

Ms. Yu Han
Shanghai Open University
Rm401, No.1 Building, 288 Guoshun Road
200433, Shanghai, China
Tel: +86 21 2565 3006