Adult education and development lessons from Somaliland
Nthiga, Purity M.
Kiguru, Gatitu E.
Mwangi, Phyllis W.
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The Incheon Declaration 2015- “Towards 2030: a new vision for education,” recognizes the important role of education as the main driver of development, and therefore commits to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all(p. i).” The declaration further commits to “ensuring that all youth and adults, especially girls and women, achieve relevant and recognized functional literacy and numeracy levels and acquire life skills and that they are provided with adult learning and training opportunities (p. 7).”” This commitment is a clear recognition of the role of adult education in development. Sadly, although adult education and lifelong learning are key for achieving social change and reducing poverty levels, the sector receives minimal attention in development matters in many African countries. According to UNESCO the adult education sub-sector of state education systems remains relatively underfunded and marginal despite the improved living conditions in many African countries since the 1990s. Few countries have specific, ratified national adult education policies while in some others adult education is seen as a human right but only practically enforceable subject to availability of resources. This paper outlines evidence of positive changes accrued from literacy and skills training project in one region in Somaliland. In addition to literacy and numeracy, the participants in the project were trained in tailoring or cookery as well as on health, nutrition, hygiene and entrepreneurship. More so, the project offered micro-credit to those wishing to start small businesses. Major developmental changes including employment, healthier families, businesses and better civic participation were realized by the individual participants, their families and the community. From this evidence the paper argues that it is important for countries in Africa to seriously harness the adult education sub-sector for development as one way of translating the Incheon commitment to tangible achievements.