January 23, 2022

UNESCO Releases Third “Global Report on Adult Learning and Education”

Today, on the 50th Anniversary of World Literacy Day, the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) released the third Global Report on Adult Learning and Education.


2016-09-08_15-33-07The main objective of the report is to take stock of countries’ progress in implementing commitments to adult learning and education (ALE) made at the 2009 International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VI).

The study, drawing on 139 countries’ response to the GRALE III survey, shows that most States have made progress in ALE policy development, governance, financing, quality and reach since 2009. Furthermore, 124 countries consider that ALE has had a strong impact on health and well-being, active citizenship, social cohesion, diversity and tolerance. GRALE III also makes a case for the major contribution that ALE could bring to meeting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


[Our emphasis] Poor literacy is a considerable obstacle for progress in ALE as 758 million adults, including 115 million young people (aged 15 to 24), around the world can still not read and write a simple sentence. Sixty-five per cent of the countries surveyed identify lack of literacy as the main factor preventing adult learning and education from having a greater positive impact on health and well-being. According to 66% of countries, literacy programmes help develop democratic values, peaceful coexistence and solidarity.

The gender gap is another challenge that needs to be overcome. Social and community development is heavily dependent on women’s participation, but they don’t have equal access to literacy education or ALE, and still account for 63% of all adults with low literacy skills. It is however, encouraging to note that in 44% of countries surveyed, women participated more in ALE than men.

Read the Complete Launch Announcement


Direct to Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE III)
158 pages; PDF.

Direct to GRALE II Report (2013)

Direct to GRALE I Report (2009)

See Also: Collection of Lifelong Learning Policies and Strategies (via UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.