The Family Literacy Team of the University of Santo Tomas spearheaded the 1st e-Forum on Adult Education 2020, held on September 3, 2020, via Zoom. The team’s online activities are funded by the Global Challenges Research Funds (GCRF), which was awarded to Asst. Prof. Gina Lontoc, Ph.D. and Prof. Camilla Vizconde, Ph.D. for the research project titled, “Family Literacy and Sustainable Development: How Can We Build on Indigenous Intergenerational Learning?”
Around 60 participants from the USA, Nepal, Vietnam, UK, Myanmar, Italy, Germany, Taiwan, and the Philippines attended the forum, which had for its theme, “Adult Literacy Programs and Family-Centered Practices in Community Building: Revisiting the Roles of Philippine Higher Education.”
The first e-forum was in response to communities’ challenges to provide access to education, whether formal or non-formal, to all members of the society. Thus, the Graduate School of the University of Santo Tomas, in partnership with the Asia-Pacific Dominican Promoters of Justice, Peace & Care of Creation, the UST Research Center for Social Sciences and Education (RCSSED), and the UNESCO Chair in Adult Literacy and Learning for Social Transformation at the University of East Anglia, organized this event to raise debates on the changing landscapes of adult literacy, the drivers of change and its challenges. It also highlighted how adult literacy programs have become instrumental in supporting families and strengthening communities.
Dominican Province of the Philippines Prior Provincial Very Rev. Fr. Napoleon Sipalay, Jr., O.P., gave his welcome message. Asia-Pacific Dominican Promoters of Justice, Peace & Care of Creation Chairperson Rev. Fr. Victor Calvo, Jr., O.P., also delivered his welcome message.
UNESCO Adult Literacy and Learning for Social Transformation Chair, Prof. Anna Robinson-Pant, Ph.D., delivered her talk on the theme, “Family literacy as a pathway to lifelong learning.” She emphasized the need to strengthen the role of the Higher Education sector in reimagining the landscape of education, veering away from the traditional face-to-face learning to digital or learning online. She also added that Higher Education Institutions must learn to communicate in different ways, particularly in advocating intergenerational learning. She further emphasized that lifelong learning is the integration of learning and living, and is for people of all ages, and may be conducted in a variety of modalities.
Presentations from various Higher Education institutions included discussions on the status of adult literacy programs implemented in the respective universities of the panel discussants. They also talked about the challenges, issues, and future directions for adult education and intergenerational learning. Invited members of the panel were: Dr. Arceli M. Amarles of the Philippine Normal University, Dr. Ma. Joahna Mante-Estacio of De La Salle University, Dr. Grace Reoperez of University of the Philippines, and Asst. Prof. Froilan Alipao of the University of Santo Tomas.
The final presentation was delivered by UST Graduate School International Relations Coordinator Asst. Prof. Gina Lontoc, Ph.D., who is also the UST Family Literacy Team Project Lead. She explained the GCRF family literacy project and gave an overview