World Literacy and Nonformal Education September 8 - 10, 2009

World Literacy and Nonformal Education
September 8 - 10, 2009

Discussion Description | Discussion Guests


Join this lively online discussion as a distinguished panel of guests from the literacy field and the international community explores the topic of “nonformal education,” its application to adult literacy providers, and lessons learned from “world literacy.”

Moderator David Rosen will invite guests Erik Jacobson, Cecilia S. Ochoa, Brenda Bell, Barbara Garner, and Ujwala Samant, to address “nonformal education” and its meaning and application to the field of adult literacy in the U.S. and globally. Discussion questions will also address the influence that experts such as Paulo Friere, Carman St. John Hunter, Welthy Honsinger Fisher, Augusto Boal, and Myles Horton have had on adult literacy in the U.S. and elsewhere. Beginning on September 8, International Literacy Day, guests will also share their views on how the US has influenced, or been influenced by, other countries on such things as participatory learning, action research, and the integration of basic skills with job training.

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Background on Discussion Guests

Brenda Bell is a Senior Technical Advisor for the International Development Division of Education Development Center, with  over 30 years of experience in formal and non-formal adult and youth education.  For 13 years she was Associate Director of the Center for Literacy Studies, University of Tennessee, where she managed state, regional and national research and professional development programs, including development and implementation of Equipped for the Future.  Currently, she works with EDC on basic education, literacy and work readiness initiatives in the Philippines, Rwanda, Liberia, and Yemen, and for several years (2004-06) she was the education advisor to the Afghanistan Literacy and Community Empowerment Program. Brenda's set of skills and experience includes professional development for educational improvement; facilitation and training of trainers; development and alignment of standards, curriculum and assessment; program evaluation; and implementation of participatory approaches to monitoring and evaluation. Brenda lives in Maryville, Tennessee.

Barbara Garner, former editor of NCSALL’s Focus on Basics and Annual Review of Adult Learning and Literacy, is now a consultant in formal and non-formal adult and youth education. Based at World Education for 14 years, she provided technical assistance to the Massachusetts System for Adult Basic Education in the areas of program and workforce development, and managed a three-year simultaneous skills training and basic education program. She also helped World Education develop adult literacy projects in Egypt, Guinea, and Mali. Her current projects include developing non-formal training programs for Partners in Health’s community health workers and clinicians working in Rwanda and Haiti, and advising the Educational Development Center’s adult literacy program in Mali. This program involves not just all the aspects of establishing and managing literacy classes but also decentralizing oversight of literacy programs to the commune (county) level. She keeps upon US adult literacy issues by volunteering in a program in Boston and subscribing to NIFL discussion lists.

Erik Jacobson is an Assistant Professor in the Early Childhood, Elementary and Literacy Education Department at Montclair State University. He is one of the founding members of the Adult Literacy Education (ALE) Wiki and for the last few years has been conducting research that looks at the ways the web has been used in adult education. Erik is the Topic Leader for World Literacy and Nonformal Education of the ALE Wiki. Erik has also conducted research on adult education in Japan and has a long-standing interest in how adult education is conceptualized in different contexts. He is currently President-Elect of the New Jersey Association for Lifelong Learning.

Cecilia S. Ochoa is currently the Senior Specialist for Basic Education and Literacy of Save the Children USA’s Department of Education and Child Development (International Programs). In this capacity, she provides technical assistance to country programs in rolling out and adapting the agency’s signature Literacy Boost program, which aims to strengthen children’s skills in learning to read and in reading to learn. Prior to transitioning to her headquarters position, Ces worked for Save the Children’s Philippines Country Office (PhCO) as its Education Manager, providing technical leadership to its early childhood development, basic education, education in emergencies, and adolescent learning programs. Ces was also part of the team that designed and managed Save the Children’s implementation of the Education Quality and Access for Learning and Livelihood Skills (EQuALLS), a USAID-funded basic education program in conflict-affected areas in Southern Philippines. This program began in 2004 and will end in 2011, and provides alternative learning opportunities for out of school youth, particularly in the areas of basic literacy and accreditation and equivalency. It also provides youth skills training for workforce development, and teaching-learning improvement assistance to public elementary schools. Ces earned her Master of Public Administration (Public Policy & Program Administration) and BA Communications (Journalism) degrees from the University of the Philippines.

Ujwala Samant is senior manager of Programs and Services at the Food Bank of South Jersey, to eliminate hunger in 4 south New Jersey counties. Prior to that she was the director of Learning for Life, a charity that assists local partners in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan to provide education and teacher training to remote areas and impoverished communities. Examples of the much-needed work in these countries, include catch-up programmes for girls under the Taliban, training health workers in the NWFP region, to educating slum children in Lahore. Before joining LfL, she was a senior researcher at the National Centre for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy at Rutgers University.