The Macao Declaration

Lifelong Individual Development in the Ageing Industrialized Societies of East Asia .

We, the participants of the 3rd Assembly of the East Asia Forum of Adult Education (EAFAE) are gathered here is solidarity at a time when the region is gripped by the economic crisis and when many who have experienced the War are growing old. We are keen in establishing Lifelong Education system in all societies in particular the development of adult lifelong learning in the ageing societies of our East Asian industrialized countries and areas. We would like to call upon governments and educators of this region to pay attention to this issue as well as to implement as much as possible the content of this declaration. The participants in this Assembly hereby declare that:

    1. Lifelong education is a basic human right and adult education is a key to the development of individuals who have left the formal schooling.
    2. Every individual regardless of age, gender, ability, social-economic status, ethnicity and religion should be given every opportunity for self-development through access to education.
    3. The concept of lifelong learning should be used to integrate formal, informal and non-formal education. Mechanisms to forge linkages amongst the three sectors should be encouraged.
    4. Adult Lifelong learning should extend beyond the walls of dominant school-oriented education to organized learning activities in alternative settings like the workplace, community and family and informal experiential learning should be encouraged.
    5. The practice of lifelong learning based on economic imperatives has to be complemented by more humanistic considerations. Adult lifelong learning has to be buttressed by humanistic concerns Governments should allocate a larger portion.
    6. Adult lifelong learning should be a means to surmount the challenges posed by the serious social problems we are facing. A holistic approach, balancing of solutions for economic and social problems with total integrated human development is a pre-requistite for implementing lifelong learning in the industrialized societies of East Asia.
    7. Adult educators in East Asian industrialized societies should work together to strengthen their network in order to promote exchange of ideas, share needs and explore alternatives for more effective adult learning. EAFAE is committed to be proactive in interacting with others who are interested in the development of adult education in other parts of the world.
    8. Adult educators in East Asian industrialized societies should also work together to give support and share their experiences with neighbouring developing countries to facilitate their development in adult education, adult lifelong learning and establishing lifelong education system on their process of industralization .
    9. Adult educators in East Asian industrialized countries will maintain close relationship with the related regional and international organization, such as the Asian-South Pacific Bureau of Adult Education (ASPBAE), European Adult Education Association (EAEA) , Council of adult International Council for Education (ICAE) and UNESCO . We will continuously explore opportunities to collaborate with these organizations.
    10. Lifelong learning in East Asia is informed by cultural and traditional values prevalent in the region. Such understanding can help to bridge the possible gaps that exist among the different cultures of East Asia.
    11. Institutions of higher education can implement lifelong education by building paths to connect different sectors within education and industries. This is to facilitate more open and equitable access to higher education.
    12. There are positive aspects in ageing and that adult educators should harness the wisdom of older adults in their practice. In consonant with the International Year of Older Persons , we affirm that the life-experience of older adults is a valuable source for inter-generational learning . Education about the elderly is as important as education for the elderly.
    13. The nuclearization of the family and the longer life expectancy of the population have created new learning needs for women in East Asia . Adult lifelong education should address these changes in the role of women as homemakers, income-earners and care-givers.
    14. The globalisation of the industrialized economies in East Asia has accentuated the need for migrants and migrant works education. Research is needed to understand the coping strategies of migrants and educational intervention is required for societies to better understand these migrants and for these migrants workers to function effectively in these societies.
    15. A multi-agency approach should be adopted for the training, retraining and re-skilling of workers . This is to enhance in the employability of workers , especially during economic downturns. Funding should be provided by the governments to private companies and non-government organizations to support the re-skilling programmes for their employees.
    16. Adult educators in East Asia will actively participate in community development by engaging in health education, environmental education and moral education. Adult educators should look at the interconnectedness in health , environment and moral values when planning programmes aimed at the betterment of the community.
    17. Adult educations in East Asia should develop the capacity to do research in the areas mentioned. This can be in the form of comparative studies of issues confronting industrialized societies and the educational programmes and legislation put in place to ameliorate these problems. The findings form these studies will be disseminated to adult educators in EAFAE and the international community. IT will be harnessed to promote free flow of knowledge and sharing of ideas amongst adult educators.
    18. Adult educators in East Asia recognize the centrality of the educational processes in their engagement of various issues they come to face . The focus has to be on needs identification, programme planning and evaluation and instructional techniques.