Quality inclusive education for all

This thematic group 5 includes several topics around quality:

  • capacity building and preparation of teachers, trainers and facilitators in adult education for transformation
  • enhancement of quality provision
  • improvement of curricula
  • participatory teaching and learning strategies and methods

… for every human being to acquire knowledge, skills, attitudes and values necessary to shape a sustainable future.

Quality education is one of the core issues in the planning of the sustainable development goals and in the Post 2105 process:

OWG Goal Nr.4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Muscat agreement, overarching goal: ensure equitable and inclusive quality education and lifelong learning for all by 2030.

There is overall acceptance of “quality education” as the key issues and main educational target for all field and levels of education. However, there is no clear criteria or definition of what quality education means and no common understanding of quality standards in adult education, because the understanding of quality depends on the approach and educational concept behind it. Quality is never neutral – the definition of what it is, its elements, the ways of measuring – they are based on certain values and express certain interest. Therefore, it is important to reflect not only on definitions of quality and its assurance (including goals, targets, standards and indicators), but also on the discourses the quality concepts are based on, ideologies behind them, on its creators (voices that are included and excluded in the development of certain quality concept), strategies for implementation and their consequences.

For ICAE, quality learning and education should relate to all aspects of the educational process:

  • Teachers, trainers and facilitators are the most important target group in the striving to improve the field of adult education. Relevant issues around this topic are initial education and further education, motivation of adult educators and teachers, their functions and roles, their working conditions etc. In addition, motivation of learners is crucial. Very important is the awareness rising – many teachers are not aware of the fact that they are providing adult education – sense of belonging to the professional field, creating professional identity and professional community is important for the development of the whole field.
  • Any kind of training and education for teachers in education for youth and adults should include aspects of transformative education and personal development;
  • Next quality aspects relates to the provision. This is a very brood area which depends on plenty of factors and very much of the national context. For ICAE it is important to stress the need of rich provision and the variety of field covered (so every adult learner can find a needed provider – in terms of topic and field, but also geographical accessibility, flexibility of organisation, dynamic etc.). Variety of types of providers is important, and the role of NGOs as providers is one of the issues to focus on, as well as the criteria of quality – for some regions some kind of accreditation is highly appreciated (or even required), for others there are not so formal criteria. On one hand, it is necessary to try to increase the quality and to have the mechanisms to monitor the process; on the other hand, too “strict” or too formalized criteria could “kill” the provision. It is relevant to see how quality is perceived in the provision of different types of adult education, including non-formal and popular education, and to compare the experiences of different cultural context and its influence, for example the Folkbildning tradition and methods in the Nordic countries and the emancipatory philosophy of popular education in South America.
  • It is not always clear what the quality curricula means in the context of adult education. From the perspective of civil society every curricula has to have some elements of the broader approach and not to be completely reductionist, although there is possibility to see it is a task of the methods and teachers preparation, and not of curricula. Anyway, it is necessary to have quality standards in curricula in every field or any kind of provision of adult education, but it is difficult to define and to evaluate this without strong social partnership.
  • The core of quality adult education lies in the access to preparation for the trainers and teachers, the part related to didactics and methods. In many parts of the world adult are thought in old-fashioned, traditional way or in a way, which is usually used for children. It is of utmost importance to train adult educators in ALL fields and at all levels to use target-group oriented methods, interactive methods, methods that not just make the learned knowledge and acquired skills sustainable, but also increase the motivation of adults to learn. The methods and the attitudes are very often the crucial factor for the success for adults to acquire knowledge and to learn. ICAE members in different regions have rich experience in teaching and learning methods – sharing it will not only enrich the repertoire of adult education and learning, but also enable deeper cultural understanding.
  • Balance of skills and competencies, knowledge and values is an important issue in all mentioned aspects. Which criteria do we have to show how it could be done? There is a tendency in the contemporary concepts of quality to stress the importance of skills and competencies and all measurable aspects, but to neglect the aspects that are not of quantitative character. It is an important challenge and task to present the experiences of quality assurance that include input, not only output, processes, not only outcomes, consider values and take an holistic approach.


The ICAE World Assembly will:

  • Organize workshops to present best practise and different experiences in the field of teaching youth and adults, including pathways, models and experiences.
  • Invite partners to discuss in which ways we can meet the learning needs and better reach out to those who need learning the most – in cooperation with e.g. Education International
  • Present different curricula in ToT (for example Curriculum GlobALE);
  • Prepare and share a list of recommended tools, handbooks and materials for adult teaching methods
  • Organize workshops to demonstrate the use of a multitude of traditional and new methods in adult learning and education, e.g. empowerment, methods for specific fields etc.
  • Compare the foundation, philosophy, understanding and attitudes in teaching adults in the Nordic and the Latin-American tradition and discuss how these traditions may be used in the future to reach goals in basic skills etc.

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