Adult education, key to development and progress

This week marks the International Day of Education. At a time like the one we live in, in which the gaps have widened due to the irruption of technology and the need for new knowledge and skills, it is more necessary than ever to take into account that learning opportunities not only in childhood , adolescence and in the university stage, but it is necessary that this training extend throughout life. This is stated in the latest UNESCO report, “Reimagining our futures together: a new social contract for education” , which calls for the forging of a new social contract for education, which allows building a better, fair and sustainable future , in line with goal 4 of the 2030 Agend. And it is that, as , warns in his study of adult education, «Global Report on Adult Learning Education IV» , «too often support for adult education is just rhetoric and this is later set aside to put a disproportionate focus on schools and universities.

These reports have been published at a turning point caused in large part by the effects generated by COVID-19. “In this exceptional time, we cannot continue doing the same as always. We have to repair the injustices of the past and guide the digital transformation towards inclusion and equity. And we need education to fully contribute to sustainable development, said Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO.

This is even more relevant in Africa or Latin America, the most unequal region in the world. Beyond bringing microfinance closer to the more than 2.8 million small entrepreneurs it serves, the BBVA Microfinance Foundation (BBVAMF), created by BBVA in 2007 and which operates in five Latin American countries, has among its priorities giving them access to education and training to improve their lives and support their businesses. Since poverty continues to be a determining factor in access to educational opportunities and only 35% of these entrepreneurs have primary education, and 82% are in a vulnerable situation, financial education and training are key.“Education is, along with entrepreneurship, one of the factors that most influences the development and progress of people and societies,” according to BBVAMF General Director Javier M. Flores.

In 2021, more than half a million entrepreneurs, through BBVAMF microfinance entities, have received some type of training , mainly financial education, but also in other subjects such as business management or digital skills, with the purpose of improve the management and growth of their enterprises. Of these, more than 180,000 did so with virtual training sessions. Through the Foundation’s own Campus platform, 304,000 hours of online training have been given to more than 6,900 employees.

School of Entrepreneurship, in Chile , is another of BBVAMF’s projects in the educational inclusion of people without resources. In it, Fondo Esperanza, BBVAMF’s entity in the country, uses a continuous training model according to the needs and learning rhythms of entrepreneurs.

In Peru, it has launched “Learning in Confidence” . It is a program with a virtual format that has six thematic axes: personal finance, business management, digital literacy, health care, and home and gender well-being, which has trained 18,828 women since the beginning of 2021.

Productive Enterprises for Peace , in Colombia , is a program in municipalities affected by violence and poverty, of Bancamía, an entity of BBVAMF, in alliance with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Corporation for Women Colombia and the World Corporation for Women Medellín. With the aim of raising the chances of success for the most vulnerable entrepreneurs and micro-entrepreneurs, it offers a comprehensive value offer that includes specialized training for entrepreneurship and business strengthening.

To truly include these most marginalized segments, we must transform not only the means by which education is received, but also the opportunities and financing mechanisms to access it. For this reason, the Foundation also has initiatives for the new generations. An example of this is Educa-T in the Dominican Republic , which grants loans with the purpose of promoting higher education. In Colombia, it has the Transformando Realidades scholarship , which allows the children of Bancamía entrepreneurs to go to university.

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