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ICT Applications for Non-Formal Education: Project Description

Implementing agencies
Asia-Pacific Programme of Education for All (APPEAL) and Community Learning Centres in the region

Region/country covered



April 2002-July 2005

Japanese Funds-in-Trust (JFIT)

Context/problem being addressed
The Education For All 2000 assessment exercise confirmed that, in spite of significant progress in many countries, there are still serious shortfalls, particularly with the lack of coordination and support for education of out-of-school children and the provision of literacy and continuing education for youth and adults.

In the Asia-Pacific region, there are around 625.4 million illiterate adults, accounting for 71 per cent of the world’s illiterate population. Of that number, 64 per cent are reported to be girls and women. Furthermore, a large proportion of these illiterates are adults, youth and unschooled children of ethnic minorities and disadvantaged sections of the population who live in rural and remote areas and urban slums.

Some countries in the Asia and Pacific region have made significant progress in literacy during the last two decades. Many countries are recognizing the importance of continuing education (CE) as an essential extension to literacy to promote human development and lifelong learning. CE is expected to become even more urgent and important as it provides the main vehicle for learning to cope with the rapid changes that are taking place in the new century. CE must be seen as a productive investment resulting in positive returns, not only in terms of economic growth, but also in improvement of quality of life and the overall development of society. CE is of particular importance to out-of-school youth and neo-literate adults.

In attempting to respond to the needs in the region, UNESCO’s Asia-Pacific Programme of Education for All (APPEAL) has supported member states in systematizing the non-formal education curriculum, training personnel and developing learning materials.

Since the late 1990s, APPEAL has also has been promoting the concept of Community Learning Centres for generating grassroots based interest and participation in literacy, basic education and continuing education activities for disadvantaged people.

To respond more effectively to the diverse learning needs among and within member states, this project will take advantage of the power of ICT to contribute to promote EFA and encourage the application of alternative strategies to APPEAL activities. Using the potential of ICT, the project will also explore more effective use and delivery of existing resources and develop new resources to widen access to and improve the relevance and quality of learning.


The long-term objective is to improve the quality of life and alleviate poverty among disadvantaged rural population groups through the provision of greater access to context specific education programmes using ICT.


  • Situational analysis and formulation of strategies for using ICT for community development. This is to make researchers grasp the socio-economic conditions of people’s lives in order to identify community needs and to formulate concise strategies for the utilization of ICT in the community.
  • Community empowerment through capacity building using ICT, ie. to encourage and assist community people, particularly in disadvantaged population groups, to empower themselves through learning programmes in the application of ICT and capacity building.
  • To support and upgrade the facilities that will enable the community people to access ICT for receiving information and knowledge on issues such as health, HIV/AIDS, environment, population education etc. for improving the quality of their lives.
  • To build the capacity of community people in developing their own ICT programmes for community development and poverty alleviation
    Improving the planning and management of CLC personnel through ICT to enhance the capacity of managers and facilitators and NFE personnel to integrate ICT into learning processes and to formulate, manage, and monitor ICT programmes in education through the training and application of ICT products based on APPEAL resource materials.
  • Information/experience sharing through ICT to continuously document, compile and share the different experiences of utilizing NFE materials, training and management as well as innovative practices, using ICT through the APPEAL network including the Clearing House of UNESCO Bangkok.
  • Policy on ICT for NFE - After the project experiences have been collated, the policy makers will be encouraged to engage in policy dialogues for developing an ICT friendly policy in NFE and lifelong learning.
  • Building on existing knowledge, initiatives and results saves time as well as human and financial resources. UNESCO Bangkok will implement this project, calling for UNESCO internal cooperation and the participation of external institutions and specialists. An intersectoral approach will be implemented while keeping a clear education focus.


  • A survey will be undertaken in the countries concerned to grasp the socio-economic backgrounds, identify community needs and existing resources and the potential for ICT programmes for NFE.
  • Collected data/ information will be studied and analyzed by APPEAL in cooperation with NFE and ICT experts to prepare a guideline for the strategies and action plan.
  • The planning of project details will be undertaken at the APPEAL-ACCU planning meeting, with heads of DNFE, ARTC and LRCs from selected member states in the region. This annual meeting provides NFE personnel both from GOs and NGOs with the opportunity to share their experiences, brainstorm new approaches for the ICT project and jointly develop strategies and action plans for the project among the member states.
  • A draft training guideline will be designed from the outcomes of the planning meeting in order to structure the capacity building workshop.
  • The Capacity-building Workshop for NFE Personnel for Community Empowerment will be designed using the above guidelines and conducted at the regional level. The ultimate goals of this approach are for the community people to access information / knowledge through ICT, design and manage their own activities, develop their own materials etc.
  • Each participating country will prepare an ICT project using the selected CLCs as well as new sites to demonstrate the ICT programmes to develop and deliver NFE progammes.
  • Based on the outcomes of the regional Capacity Building workshop, district and community level personnel will be consequently trained and empowered in the use of ICT, and given the ability to design and manage content-specific programmes using ICT in their CLCs.
  • Pilot projects will be organized in selected CLCs. The community people will organize a project from its planning to evaluation by themselves, in cooperation with NFE specialists at the district level using ICT.
  • The 5 participating countries will draw up their innovative experiences including materials developed and documentation on the process of training and materials development. This information will be shared between CLCs in the member states through the Clearing House and Literacy Database.
  • A regional workshop will be organized to provide a forum to share the materials developed and other project experiences
  • The Expert Meeting on Material Development and Training will be organized jointly with the capacity-building workshop at the regional level. This meeting will examine how to convert the existing APPEAL resource materials for NFE stakeholders as well as other resources on the NFE programmes into various ICT (digital) formats for wider, direct and more interactive use by CLC managers, facilitators etc.
  • Based on the Expert Meeting on Material Development and Training, APPEAL, in cooperation with experts, will develop prototypes of ICT materials, if necessary, or adapt/convert user-friendly materials for use in NFE. Training manuals on how to effectively use these materials at the district and community levels will be produced.
  • Capacity building programmes for CLC and NFE managers will be conducted at the CLCs using APPEAL resource materials with ICT, such as MANGO, handbooks, etc. as well as content-specific materials developed in the meetings.
  • Review Meeting/Planning Meeting
  • The impact of activities will be compiled and analyzed. These documentations will be shared through publications and websites using the Literacy Database and the UNESCO Bangkok’s Clearing House and audio-visual materials such as videos.
  • Online training programmes will be designed to provide interactive learning using the internet and CD-Rom. An internet discussion forum will be conducted to gain wider inputs and analyses to improve the projects using the UNESCO Bangkok Clearing House.
  • The project experiences in the country will be presented to the decision makers for formulating a policy on ICT for NFE, particularly in remote rural areas, through national seminars, study visits, research monographs, video documentaries etc.
  • The policy of ICT for NFE in the participating countries will be shared during the APPEAL-ACCU planning and policy meeting in order to review the situation and promote awareness on this matter among the NFE directors.
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Expected results

  • The following data and information at national, district and community levels to be collected and analyzed in order to examine how ICT can play an effective role in community empowerment: Problems and needs of NFE, Infrastructure, diffusion of ICT hardware/software and their usage for NFE activities, Case studies on effective ICT application for NFE activities.
  • Guidelines for the strategies and action plans of the ICT projects for NFE programmes prepared.
  • Planning and policy meeting for ICT projects for NFE programmes organized at the APPEAL-ACCU planning meeting. Needs, resources and potential roles of ICT for NFE in this region discussed in the meeting.
  • Joint Action plan produced.
  • A draft training guideline for capacity building workshop designed.
  • Capacity-building Workshop for NFE Personnel for Community Empowerment organized at the regional level. NFE personnel at national level to gain the following knowledge and skills: Concept of the community-oriented ICT project, Appropriate and Effective selection and utilization of ICT tools for community empowerment projects, concrete ideas/methods how to use ICT for CLC management.
  • Action proposals for the ICT project with community people submitted to APPEAL.
  • Capacity-building workshops for NFE personnel for community empowerment at district and community levels. Participants to gain the same knowledge and skills as the regional/sub-regional workshops mentioned before.
  • Training manuals and curricula applying to the local contexts developed and distributed in each participating country.
  • Community-oriented ICT pilot projects in CLCs organized. The process of planning and implementation of the project recorded.
    The pilot projects evaluated with the participatory methods by
  • community people and internal/external NFE experts.
  • Reports compiled and translated into English
  • Review meeting of phase 1 (5 countries) organized. In conjunction with the review meeting, training workshop for the phase 2 (another 5 countries) organized.
  • Continuing monitoring and evaluation conducted
  • Existing contents-specific materials collected and studied
  • The Expert Meeting on Material Development and Training organized at regional/sub-regional levels. The following outstanding issues examined in the meeting: Effective conversion of training resource handbooks into various ICT formats for direct, effective and more interactive use of the resource materials for CLC managers and facilitators, Effective and rapid training methods using the resource handbooks through ICT tools, Effective use of contents-based materials through ICT, Effective use of MANGO, PLANET, APPEAL Computer software etc.
  • Prototype versions of ICT materials developed or concerted. The training manuals and curricula through ICT developed.
  • In some participating countries, national editorial meetings organized and vernacular language versions of the APPEAL ICT materials as well as its training manuals adapted
  • Capacity building workshops for CLC and NFE managers organized at district/community levels.
  • Materials and manuals used by communities and monitoring and evaluation conducted using the existing framework of CLC projects.
  • Project outcomes/experiences reviewed at the APPEAL-ACCU planning meeting, where the heads of DNFE of participating countries will report the impact of the application of ICT for NFE.
  • All reports and other documents such as main findings from evaluation, resources developed under the project stored as database and shared through UNESCO Bangkok web-clearinghouse and the Asia-Pacific Literacy Database.
  • On-line learning programmes designed to provide interactive learning using the internet and CD-ROM.
  • Internet discussion forum conducted in the UNESCO Bangkok Clearing House Website
  • Formulation of the policy on ICT for NFE encouraged through national seminars, study visits, research monographs, video documentaries etc.
  • The policy on ICT for NFE formulated and approved in some countries in the region.
  • The policy will be introduced, and ideas regarding the policy shared at the APPEAL-ACCU planning and policy meeting.