The same principle applies to adult education and learning. However, for adults it is different in that in addition to the state, there are market providers everything from yoga classes and cooking, to computer programming will be offered by private providers , companies train and develop their staff, community organisations create learning opportunities for their members, and the web offers a range of free MOOCs and charged for learning programmes. A key responsibility of states is to establish a legal and regulatory framework that secures access to adult education and learning opportunities, particularly for those from marginalised groups.
Further, states have obligations under international human rights law in relation to certain forms of adult education and learning. This page explores the various forms of adult education and lifelong learning for which the state has specific legal obligations under international human rights law, including: fundamental education, basic education, adult literacy programmes, technical and vocational education and training, and higher education. It also explores the right to education of older persons and adult education as articulated in the Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Adult education forms an important element of lifelong learning. Around the world, countless people have been - and continue to be - denied their right to free and compulsory primary education.
Currently, it is estimated that there are 61 million children out of school at the primary level. Effectively, primary education is prioritised given its importance to the individual. Obligations to realise primary education extend beyond provision to primary school-aged students. Under international law, states must also provide education for all those who have missed all or part of their primary education. However the right to fundamental education is far broader in scope. Because fundamental education is a right of all age groups, curricula and delivery systems must be devised which are suitable for students of all ages.
The last point is crucial. As is the case for the right to education more broadly, the elements of availability, accessibility, acceptability, and adaptability also apply to fundamental education CESCR, General Comment Para. This means that traditional methods and practices of teaching child learners pedagogies may need to be substituted for methods and practices that are more appropriate and respectful of adult learners and their already accumulated knowledge and experience.
Opportunities for Adults
However, it is important that the distinction is clear. Primary education is delivered to primary school-aged children, usually in formal settings. Fundamental education, on the other hand, is not age specific and therefore its delivery must be adapted to the recipient, and is usually delivered outside of the primary school system, for example through non-formal educational programmes. It should be emphasised that fundamental education, as understood to ensure the satisfaction of basic learning needs, is not just confined to those who have missed primary education, but to anyone whose basic learning needs have not been satisfied CESCR, General Comment Para.
There are limited references to the right to basic education under international human rights law. Article 1 defines basic learning needs as:. Basic education is an expansive concept which includes the content and learning tools essential to satisfying basic learning needs. In relation to adults, basic education should satisfy basic learning needs and prepare adults for lifelong learning.
For example, literacy programmes may be implemented to address low levels of literacy, whereas other learning needs may be met through skills training. Although literacy is not an explicit part of the right to education, nor a right in itself, literacy is conceptually part of the normative content of the right to primary and therefore fundamental and basic education and has been recognised as such by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights CESCR and the Committee on the Rights of the Child CRC.
A compelling argument can be made that literacy is vital to the realisation of the right to education because it is a skill that is foundational for the acquisition of other skills, and without which the aims of education and a good quality education cannot be realised, nor can the continuation of education.
Further, it is inconceivable, given the instrumental importance of education in the modern world, for instance, in finding gainful and decent employment or navigating knowledge and information intensive societies, that literacy would not be part of the content of the right to education.
Without literacy, the right to education and other human rights, are impossible to realise. In addition, there is no one-size-fits-all approach which means that the success of programmes depends on how well they respond to local needs and contexts. ActionAid and GCE have developed a set of benchmarks based on a survey of successful adult literacy programmes, which provides a useful framework for developing adult literacy programmes see Writing the Wrongs: International Benchmarks on Adult Literacy.
Based on a functional definition of literacy, it is likely that the true figure is closer to 1. In any case, these figures indicate the failure of states to guarantee the right to education for all, particularly the right to free and compulsory primary education and fundamental education. While literacy is not explicitly recognised as part of the right to education, it is integral to achieving the right to education. To this end, international human rights law obligates states to eliminate illiteracy. For this reason the two foremost human rights treaties that concern women both address low levels of female literacy.
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Reference to literacy is also made in regional human rights instruments. The following international human rights instruments include TVET as part of the normative content of the right to education:. In addition, several regional instruments recognise the importance of TVET:. Higher education is generally only for those who have completed secondary education, meaning that most students in higher education are adults.
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Higher education programmes are usually specialised and aim to prepare students for specific professional occupations. Institutions of higher education are generally universities and colleges. The World Declaration on Higher Education , adopted at the UNESCO World Conference on High Education, reaffirms the importance of equity in access to higher education and emphasises that higher education, as a part of lifelong learning, can take place at any time. UNESCO is currently drafting a Global Convention on the Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications to promote international cooperation in higher education, including the recognition of qualifications to support academic mobility.
Higher education is sometimes also referred to as tertiary education, however there is a distinction. Tertiary education encompasses most post-secondary education, including some technical and vocational education and training TVET as well as higher education. It aims at learning at a high level of complexity and specialisation. Accordingly, tertiary education is an umbrella term that covers TVET and higher education.
However, as TVET covers all levels of education, it is not exclusively tertiary. Within international human rights law, the term tertiary education is generally not used. Students are provided a curriculum guide, a plan of study and the program benchmarks that will enable their successful transition to graduate school. Several other partnerships are in progress. Although most colleges and schools were receptive to establishing articulation agreements, we did experience some challenges to putting the agreements in place.
Access to Learning: Opportunities for Adult Learners to Excel Beyond the Baccalaureate
Our biggest obstacle was in the logistics. First, we needed to work out with the registrar how to move a student automatically from being an undergraduate to a graduate. This took several meetings, but was a rather smooth process to complete. Therefore, our program director began an intense educational push at prospective pathway schools and programs. She began by discussing the success of adults in higher education, their commitment, their dedication to learning, and their breadth of knowledge that can be used to spark class discussions.
She then asked programs to tell her about what they believed to be the perfect student. What did that student hypothetically look like in terms of knowledge and skill what level of math proficiency, writing proficiency, knowledge of specific disciplines, etc. We wrote the initial draft of the pathway agreement based on those skills. We promised the programs that every RBA student would have every skill they desired by the time they completed their undergraduate degree. We could do this because the RBA program is unique; it is a general education degree with inherent flexibility.
University of Waikato
This flexibility allows us to direct students to specific courses based on each respective pathway. One of the compelling results of the RBA program is having adult learners fully understand the value of their life and work experience and how those experiences form the basis for a robust educational experience. The RBA has provided many of our students with the confidence and the credentials needed to compete for jobs that require a postsecondary credential.
It is our hope that adult learners see the RBA program as an educational opportunity: a first chance for the adult learner who chose a different pathway and a second chance for the adult learner who temporarily stepped away from higher education. Fast Facts: Immediate transition to college.
Continuing education: a reminder about andragogy. Journal for Library and Information Science, 37 1 , 79 — Author Perspective: Administrator. Your email address will not be published. Tuesday, Sep 24, Search Site Search. Toggle navigation. Applied and Experiential Learning.
Allowing non-traditional students to highlight their competencies and to tie classroom theory with labor market practice goes a long way to closing the credentials gap. To truly give our students an edge, though, we are thinking beyond the baccalaureate.
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Rising Above Competing Demands In 21st-century America, upon graduating from high school, our society generally expects students to pursue some form of postsecondary education. Adding Value to Education For many adults, returning to college to complete a degree has to be a value-added proposition, and the ability to be successful has to be within reasonable reach. Overcoming the Hurdles Although most colleges and schools were receptive to establishing articulation agreements, we did experience some challenges to putting the agreements in place.