Revision of the UNESCO Recommendation on the 1976 Development of Adult Education

News will revise the 1976 Recommendation on the Development of Adult Education, as recommended by the Belém Framework for Action. UNESCO’s General Conference agreed in 2013 to prepare this revision “in consultation with the Member States and other stakeholders through various cost-effective measures”.

Adopted in 1976 by the General Conference of UNESCO, the 1976 Recommendation represents the only international normative framework that provides guiding principles for adult education policy and practice in UNESCO Member States. An update has been proposed at the last two International Conferences on Adult Education (CONFINTEA V, 1997 and CONFINTEA VI, 2009).

UNESCO Recommendations are not binding and do not stipulate specific rights or duties. Rather, they define principles and norms for the international regulation of specific issues and invite Member States to take appropriate legislative steps “in conformity with … constitutional practice”. Consequently, the impact of a Recommendation depends entirely on the extent of its implementation by Member States.


The revision of this Recommendation is part of the ongoing debate on the international development agenda beyond 2015. UNESCO’s position paper for education beyond 2015 recommends a lifelong learning approach to empower people to realize their rights to education, fulfil their personal expectations for life and work, and contribute to the achievement of their societies’ objectives. The draft Muscat Agreement that emerged from the Global Education For All Meeting in Oman in May 2014, consequently refers to specific targets on youth and adult literacy, on skills for work and life, and for citizenship and sustainable development.

A preliminary draft of the revised Recommendation has been prepared with the help of experts from governmental, intergovernmental, non-governmental, academic and private organizations. The draft revised Recommendation on Technical and Vocational Education is not yet available.


Through this e-mail-based exchange process, the preliminary draft will be further enriched by incorporating insights and comments from a broad international audience. The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) is looking forward to receiving contributions from policy-makers, researchers, practitioners, teachers and learners. UIL also strongly encourages the sharing of this message with all networks interested in contributing to this process.

For more details and subscription please visit the UIL website or go directly to the registration form.

A French version is available here, and a Spanish version here

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