The report, entitled “Global Survey Report: The contribution of higher education institutions to lifelong learning”, presents a global survey conducted by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning. The aim of this survey is to understand how higher education institutions assist with the implementation of lifelong learning, and to what extent.

A few points from the summary:

  • The transformation of university colleges into lifelong learning institutions requires national policies, strategies and frameworks that demonstrate a great deal of political commitment, create a favourable environment and provide guidance for change at an institutional level.
  • National legislation that defines lifelong learning as an integral part of the mission of higher education institutions has a significant and positive influence on the existence of lifelong learning strategies at each institution.
  • Funding still presents an important challenge and needs to be increased further in order to promote the integration of lifelong learning at higher education institutions. Innovative funding strategies, such as setting up partnerships with other organisations or companies, are required in order to diversify funding.
  • The survey suggests that a number of support mechanisms for staff – financial incentives, academic qualifications, and the definition of lifelong learning as a core responsibility or a reduction in basic obligations, for example – still need to be developed and established in full at higher education institutions.
  • Almost all the participating institutions report that they are working with their local communities to develop lifelong learning.

399 higher education institutions around the world responded to the survey, with varying response rates for different parts of the world. Africa had the lowest response rate, Asia the highest.