Posted by on April 12, 2017

Comment by Ayah Abubasheer

Palestinian activist based in Gaza Strip. She holds a master’s degree in Global Politics (Global Civil Society) from the London School f Economics and Political Science (LSE). She is currently working with UNDP as a civil society coordinator.

Thank you to ICAE for initiating this virtual seminar.

I find this article very interesting and I share the opinion that we should contextualize the processes of adult education in the Arab world. Agreeing with the three vital challenges described in the article, I would like to consider the following as key issues to be highlighted in any relevant discussion:

  • I emphasize that the political changes happening in the Arab world have badly affected citizens’ lives and limited their opportunities in achieving progress and change in life’s fields including the field of adult learning and education. As Human Rights and freedom are not integral parts in the social life of Arab societies, such reality has been even intensified amidst the current political and economic instabilities. Due to decades of oppressive regimes and dictatorships in the Arab World, the political culture is described as more subjective rather than participatory one. Citizens have negative attitudes about their role in their communities, and more importantly, their ability to make a change in their societies at large. How to enhance a political culture where citizens are active and positive about their role, and that they can make a change in their societies?  I think this is a main challenge for adult learners. I also believe that this is a mission for civil society organizations to address. So far, it has been addressed through different approaches, mainly through trainings and awareness raising initiatives which lack continuity and not as strategic approach.
  • Addressing poverty in a sustainable way. For instance, we need to provide a framework to shift donor assistance from emergency relief to job creation, recovery and social and economic development, particularly focusing to engage women in this process.
  • Ensuring that the learning needs of all young people and adults by enhancing non-formal learning methods outdoors.
  • The writer mentions the gap between theory and practice and discusses the importance of enhancing adult learners’ life competencies and skills such as critical thinking. I strongly believe that the educational systems in the Arab world confine students’ free and innovative thinking in a very systematic and institutionalized way from basic education stages till graduation from universities. Even after graduation, for a civil servant, for example, who works in an I/NGOs and holds a Masters or PhD and wishes to give academic courses in the university beside her/his work in a civil society organization, the rules of this organization- or even the university- obstruct that. For instance, priorities in adult education in Palestine is not mainly illiteracy but rather the quality of education (literacy rates reached 94.9 percent for females and 98.5 percent for males in 2015 though gap is still in favor of males by 3.6 percent). To be agents of change we have to get our scopes broadened and to work on shuttering the exciting separation and lack of -or false sometimes- integration between the academic world, from one side, and the civil society sphere and non-governmental education, from the other side.

In Solidarity,

Ayah Abubasheer


These are the links to the AED 83/2016 publication in three languages:

Estos son los links para acceder a la publicación en tres idiomas:

Voici les liens vers la publication en trois langues:

Follow the ICAE Virtual Seminar also here.

Para español favor usar google translator en los casos en que el artículo no está traducido al español
Veuillez utiliser google translator pour traduire les articles qui ne sont pas en français


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