Over 140 countries call for right to lifelong learning to transform education at UNESCO conference
With the adoption of the Marrakech Framework for Action at the Seventh International Conference on Adult Education on 17 June 2022, representatives of over 140 countries committed to translating the vision of a right to lifelong learning into reality. They undertook to significantly increase adult participation in learning and recognized the need for increased financial investment in adult learning and education.
More than 1,000 participants, among them heads of state, education ministers and high-level representatives of the United Nations, attended the conference hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco and UNESCO from 15 to 17 June 2022 in Marrakech. Following UNESCO’s call for a new social contract for education, they discussed how to use the transformative power of adult learning and education for sustainable development, in the context of challenges such as the climate crisis, rapid technological advance and the changing world of work.
In opening the conference, His Majesty King Mohammed VI, in a message presented by the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Morocco Aziz Akhannouch, stated: ‘Given the rapid changes affecting the world, it has become necessary today to give adults lifelong opportunities to acquire new skills that effectively empower them to improve their living and health conditions and enjoy decent lives.’
The Marrakech Framework for Action sets out key areas for action required to achieve this vision over the next decade. UNESCO Member States will work to realize a right to lifelong learning, enhancing governance and quality of adult learning and education, backed by increased investment. They committed to placing inclusion at the heart of these endeavours to ensure that those most often left behind benefit from lifelong learning. One of the key findings of UNESCO’s Fifth Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE 5), launched at the conference, was that adult education still does not reach those who need it most.
‘I urge governments and the international community to ensure that the right to education is realized for everyone – no matter their age, who they are, or where they live’, emphasized UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay at the conference.
H.E. Sahle-Work Zewde, President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Chair of the International Commission on the Futures of Education, stressed: ‘The right to education throughout life is a collective responsibility. A failure to deliver on this would be our collective failure.’
About the International Conference on Adult Education
The International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA) is a UNESCO intergovernmental conference for policy dialogue on adult learning and education and related research and advocacy. CONFINTEA has taken place every 12 to 13 years since 1949.