4. Recommendation on the Development of Adult Education (1976)
(Adopted by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Nairobi, Kenya, 26 November 1976)



2. Generally speaking, the aims of adult education should be to contribute to:  

(a) promoting work for peace, international understanding and co-operation;

(b) developing a critical understanding of major contemporary problems and social changes and the ability to play an active part in the progress of society with a view to achieving social justice;


(d) creating an understanding of and respect for the diversity of customs and cultures, on both the national and the international planes;

(e)  promoting increased awareness of, and giving effect to various forms of communication and solidarity at the family, local, national, regional and international levels;



9. Adult education activities, viewed as forming part of life-long education and learning, have no theoretical boundaries and should meet the particular situations created by the specific needs of development, of participation in community life and of individual self-fulfilment; they cover all aspects of life and all fields of knowledge and are addressed to all people whatever their level of achievement. In defining the content of adult education activities priority should be given to the specific needs of the educationally most underprivileged groups.

10. Civic, political, trade union and co-operative education activities should be aimed particularly towards developing independent and critical judgment and implanting or enhancing the abilities required by each individual in order to cope with changes affecting living and working conditions, by effective participation in the management of social affairs at every level of the decision making process.

11. While not excluding approaches intended to achieve a short-term solution in a particular situation, technical and vocational education activities should as a general rule emphasize the acquisition of qualifications which are sufficiently broad to allow of subsequent changes of occupation and a critical understanding of the problems of working life. It is necessary to integrate general and civic education with technical and vocational education.


14. With regard to women, adult education activities should be integrated as far as possible with the whole contemporary social movement directed towards achieving self-determination for women and enabling them to contribute to the life of society as a collective force, and should thus focus specifically on certain aspects, in particular:

(a) the establishment in each society of conditions of equality between men and women;

(b) the emancipation of men and women from the preconceived models imposed on them by society in every field in which they carry responsibility;

(c) civic, occupational, psychological, cultural and economic autonomy for women as a necessary condition for their existence as complete individuals;

(d) knowledge about the status of women, and about women's movements, in various societies, with a view to increased solidarity across frontiers.


16. With regard to such persons or groups as have remained illiterate or are experiencing difficulty in adjusting to society because of the slenderness of their resources, their limited education or their restricted participation in community life, adult education activities should be designed not only to enable them to acquire basic knowledge (reading, writing, arithmetic, basic understanding of natural and social phenomena), but also to make it easier for them to engage in productive work, to promote their self-awareness and their grasp of the problems of hygiene, health, household management and the upbringing of children, and to enhance their autonomy and increase their participation in community life.