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									                  Join us in celebrating
        International Adult Learners' Week 2004

What is Adult Learners’ Week (ALW)? ALW is an international advocacy campaign endorsed by
the United Nations. From the 6th to the 11th September 2004 is International Adult Learners’ Week.
During and around the week learners and educators from throughout South Africa and internationally
will come together to celebrate their achievements and promote a culture of lifelong learning.

In South Africa, a multitude of local celebrations at adult learning centres throughout the country
culminate in Provincial and National Award Ceremonies that showcase innovative programmes and
acknowledge the achievements of exceptional learners and educators. The week bookends
International Literacy Day on the 8th of September, when we remember those who are
struggling to obtain the basic educational tools that are the first steps on the pathway to lifelong

This year South Africa celebrates ten years of democracy and the role that adult education (including
popular education) played in the struggle for freedom is well known. Many leaders in the new South
Africa were directly involved in learning and teaching programmes in townships as well as at the
historical “peoples university” of Robben Island.
On 13 February 2003 the United Nations declared the Literacy Decade through which it referred to the
global statistic of 1 in 5 adults who cannot read and write. Our own 2001 census tells us that more than
4 million adults are illiterate and 10 million don’t have a general education.
Also, UNESCO’s Education For All (EFA) - to which South Africa with more than 160 other countries,
have committed to striving to ensure that adults are afforded their right to adult basic education, which
is enshrined in our own constitution.
Aims and Objectives: From its inception in 1996, Adult Learners' Week has grown from strength
to strength to become the highlight of the adult education calendar. This national campaign provides
an opportunity for us to:

   promote a culture of lifelong learning amongst all South Africans
   reflect on the challenges facing an estimated 10 million South Africans who are functionally
   acknowledge the importance of adult education in developing our human resource potential
   celebrate the commitment and achievements of adult learners and educators throughout South
   build effective partnerships between the state, business and civil society, and
   mobilize the funds and resources needed to facilitate an integrated approach to adult learning and
Programme of Events: The ALW 2004 campaign in South Africa will once again encompass a
variety of local events culminating in provincial and national awards ceremonies and an adult national
education conference.

Special Events: From the latter part of August to the first week of September, a co-ordinated
programme of decentralised events will support celebrations at centres of learning in both rural and
urban areas. A programme of special events will provide learners with the opportunity to visit sites of
particular cultural and historical significance and we will also work in partnership with these institutions
to promote Adult Learners' Week to a wider audience.

Provincial Awards Ceremonies: This is one of the highlights of Adult Learners' Week where
learners from across the province come together to celebrate their achievements.

National Awards Ceremony: This year's ceremony will be held on the Fri, 10th September.
Prizes will be awarded to exceptional learners, educators, groups and adult learning programmes
representing public, private and non-profit sectors. Prizes will also be awarded to the winners of our
national photographic competition.

National Conference: A national conference will be held on the 6th and 7th September to facilitate
networking and information sharing across the broad adult learning sector and includes SETA’s, the
Departments of Education and Labour and community-based programmes. The conference provides a
much-needed opportunity for learners, educators, project co-ordinators and other adult education
specialists to share their ideas and experiences through presentations, workshop sessions and open

International Conference - 9th to 11th September: South Africa will be celebrating Ten Years of
Democracy. Against this background, the South African partners in Cape Town will be using the
National Adult Learners Week during the Learning Cape Festival as a vehicle for commemorating
International Adult Learners Week. The idea is to highlight the role that literacy and adult education
play in assisting adults to participate more fully in democratic processes. As the struggle for the right
to adult literacy and adult education was part of the struggle for democracy in South Africa, and
inasmuch as the right to adult basic education is now enshrined in the South African constitution, a
special thematic focus is planned on “Adult Learning and Literacy for Democracy and Citizenship”.
The event will bring together adult educators and learners from Africa as well as from other world

Media campaign: A media package has been developed to promote ALW through mainstream and
community media and we encourage the media to visit adult learning centres and provide a platform
for learners and educators to share their success stories with a wider audience.

Conclusion: Your support and involvement in this important campaign will help build a culture of
adult learning amongst all South Africans and serve as a cornerstone for the sustainable economic
and social development of our country. For further information and involvement please contact:
The Project Manager: Jacky Thomas; Tel: +27 21 447 1219; Fax: +27 21 447 1217;
Email:; url:

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