The University of East Anglia was invited by UNESCO to join its prestigious universities network and established the first UNESCO Chair in adult literacy and learning for social transformation in May 2016.   After a successful first phase, the Chair (based in the UEA School of Education and Lifelong Learning) has been renewed until April 2024.

This UNESCO Chair programme aims to develop understanding about how adult learning – particularly for women and young adults - can help address inequalities in the poorest communities of the world. Through investigating how or why adult literacy might facilitate or respond to processes of social transformation, including women’s empowerment, the Chair programme sets out to strengthen the interaction between formal, non-formal and informal learning in research, policy and programmes. The programme builds directly on the expertise of the UEA Literacy and Development Group, which brings together researchers in education and international development from across the University of East Anglia (LDG Group). Professor  Anna Robinson-Pant is the UNESCO Chairholder, leading a faculty team consisting of: Dr. Sheila Aikman, Dr. Catherine Jere, Professor Yann Lebeau, Dr. Esther Priyadharshini, Professor Nitya Rao, Professor Alan Rogers.

This UNESCO Chair programme is a partnership with university departments specialising in adult literacy and community learning in Ethiopia (Bahir Dar University), Nepal (Kathmandu University and Tribhuvan University Research Center for Educational Innovation and Development), Malawi  (University of Malawi School of Education and the Centre of Language Studies), Egypt (Ain Shams University) and the Philippines (University of Santo Tomas). We are working together to strengthen qualitative research capacity in the field of adult literacy, learning and social transformation through collaborative research and curriculum development activities. The UNESCO Chair is also developing new initiatives with key policy organisations in this field, including the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning in Hamburg. Supporting a rights-based holistic approach to adult learning as the basis for active citizenship and improved livelihoods, we aim to promote greater interaction between research and policy in areas such as vocational skill development, health, agriculture and adult literacy learning.

Some highlights:

Research on ‘Family literacy, indigenous learning and sustainable development’ in Ethiopia, Malawi, Nepal and the Philippines

Special issue of Studies in the Education of Adults on ‘Indigenous Women and Adult Learning’

UNESCO Chair Literacy conferences in Egypt (2017), Nepal (October 2018), Ethiopia (May 2019) and the Philippines (November 2019 )

#All4SocialChange webinar series (ongoing since December 2018)

Participatory research methods and/or academic writing workshops in all partner institutions

Intercultural learning and gender relations among migrant, refugee and asylum-seeking populations: a participatory action research project’ with New Routes Integration in Norwich, UK (2018-19)


Newsletter - May 2021

UEA UNESCO Chair in Adult Literacy and Learning for Social Transformation

Decolonising Literacy blog series launched!

A blog series based on the 4th Brian Street Memorial Event

Youth-led creative learning practices amongst indigenous communities in India

Presented by Nivedita Narain (PRADAN), Gautam Bisht (PRADAN), Sayonee Chatterjee (Gram Vaani) and Shuvajit Chakraborty (PRADAN), and chaired by Professor Nitya Rao (UEA DEV).

EDU-DEV online public seminar series - 8 Feb 2021, 12-1pm, UTC

Despite Malawian government policies being aimed at reforming the persistent unequal distribution of teachers, teachers continue to be concentrated in urban areas.

#FamilyLearning Photo Prize

GUIDELINES How are you and your family learning together during the COVID-19 pandemic? What does literacy look like at home and in your community? Post a photo depicting your answer...

Webinar - Family literacy and indigenous learning: perspectives from Malawi, Nepal, Ethiopia and the Philippines

SAVE THE DATE! Monday 19 th  October, 2020; 12-1pm (UK time) Register: Family literacy programmes in the Global South have tended...

The GCRF-UST Family Literacy Team 1st Postgraduate e-Forum on Adult Education 2020

Theme: “Adult Literacy Programs and Family-Centered Practices in Community Building: Revisiting the Roles of Philippine Higher Education” The Family Literacy team of the University of...

Family literacy research methodology workshops in Nepal

The Research Center for Educational Innovation & Development (CERID) Nepal conducted their third Research Methodology Workshop in the last week of August and we are delighted to share this...

UNESCO Futures of Education Initiative

Congratulations to Suresh Gautam and Sharmila Shyangtan (from UNESCO Chair Kathmandu University team), who were invited to write a commissioned paper for the UNESCO Futures of Education...

Covid-19 and its impact on Adult Learning and Education: a new research project

We are delighted to announce that UNESCO Chair members Chris Millora, Gina Lontoc, Naeim Maleki and Alan Rogers and the BALID (British Association for Literacy in Development) team have been...
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