Adult Education for Tomorrow: UNESCO in Action

By McIntosh, Christopher | UNESCO Courier, July-August 1997 | Go to article overview

Adult Education for Tomorrow: UNESCO in Action


McIntosh, Christopher, UNESCO Courier


Samia Wadie Hannah began her working life at the age of five helping her father collect garbage in the streets of Cairo. She never went to school and remained unable to read until she enrolled in an adult literacy class run by the priest of her local Coptic church. Later she gained a primary school diploma by correspondence. She now works as a supervisor for an environmental association in Cairo.

A few years ago an immigrant from a Pacific rim nation came to Houston, Texas with almost no English and little understanding of American culture. He enrolled at San Jacinto College, a two-year community college where he learned the basics of English and acquired an understanding of life in the United States. He went on to take a series of degrees, culminating in a Ph D from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is now a successful scientist.

Kerstin Herz-Habbert grew up in Montabaur, Germany, where her father was a heating mechanic. After leaving school she did an internship with a newspaper hoping to become a journalist. Failing to find a journalistic job, she trained as an office assistant in a public relations firm, where she was very unhappy. At the age of twenty-three she decided to go to university. Supported by her parents, various grants and a part-time job in the Post Office, she completed six years at the Universities of Heidelberg and Hamburg and emerged with an MA in German literature, sociology and pedagogy. She now plans to study for a doctorate in literature.

These three people experienced a profound change in their lives because of the educational opportunities offered to them as adults. Millions of people all over the world are at this moment engaged in some form of education, but millions more are denied that opportunity. Huge reserves of human potential remain locked away, unrealized. A new global effort is needed if this potential is to be released.

Against this backdrop, over 1,500 delegates from all over the world are gathering for UNESCO's Fifth International Conference on Adult Education (COFINTEA), which is being held from 14 to 18 July in Hamburg, Germany (see box). The conference will address a wide range of adult education issues, including the following.

WORK AND EMPLOYMENT

The world of work is changing rapidly and dramatically. Technology is developing at ever-increasing speed, industry is continually seeking greater efficiency, global competition is intensifying, and secure jobs are becoming a rarity. The British sociologist Charles Handy believes that in a few years time firms in some industrialized countries will be cutting their work force by half, paying staff twice as much and obtaining three times the productivity. Wholesale closures of departments and factories will continue, and more and more work will be contracted out to small, specialized companies. All of this will demand new solidarity as well as sound and flexible policies, so that adults can continue to develop their competence throughout their lives.

It is in this context that continuing education and training programmes are becoming so important at the work place. In 1990 the Rover group in Britain launched a massive educational programme costing [pounds]35 million pounds a year, offering employees not only job-related training but also grants to study whatever subject they wished, from poetry to guitar-playing. The outcome was that annual revenue per employee went up from [pounds]31,000 in 1989 to [pounds]122,000 in 1994-the result of a more motivated, flexible and creative work force.

LITERACY

Approximately one billion adults worldwide are unable to read and write. A recent survey revealed that even some of the world's richest nations have a high percentage of adults whose literacy is below the level of a primary school leaver: approximately 20 per cent in the United States, 16 per cent in Canada, 15 per cent in Germany and 10 per cent in the Netherlands. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Adult Education for Tomorrow: UNESCO in Action
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.