Adult education must be officially recognised to promote literacy and lifelong learning – AED Kygyzstan

By Anastasiya Dmitrienko, AED Kyrgyzstan

Today, in addition to the standard understanding of literacy as the ability to read, write and count, it is necessary to develop “functional literacy” among young people and adults – that is, ability to improve professional qualifications and employment; media literacy; critical thinking skills, knowledge of laws and rights. It is important to remember that education doesn’t end outside the school or higher education institution, any person has the right to education from the moment of birth and throughout life. And one of important components of development of lifelong learning (LLL) is adult education.

Speaking about the experience of Central Asia, we can say that the state provides advanced training and retraining services. The need for additional adult education is covered by various NGOs. So, for example, in the early 2000s in Kyrgyzstan an informal association of adult education providers began to form. Later, in 2006, with the support of DVV International, the Kyrgyz Adult Education Association (KAEA) was created and officially registered. To date, about 21 thousand people have already been trained by members of KAEA. Talking about the result of the work of all existing training centers, the number of trained adults will be many times greater.

A major achievement of civil society organisations in Kyrgyzstan was the initiation of the development of the Adult Education Concept and with the recognition that adult education needs official recognition to promote and implement a lifelong learning philosophy. The development of the concept and its subsequent promotion for adoption by the Government is the first confident step towards recognition of adult learning. We believe this is the beginning of new beginnings in the promotion of lifelong learning in Central Asia.

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