Updated June 7, 2001
Second Summit of the Americas:
The principal objectives set by the Second Summit of the Americas consist of:
Ensuring, by the year 2010, universal access to quality primary education for all children and access to quality secondary education for at least 75 percent of young people, with increasing percentages of young people who complete secondary education; and
Providing the general population with opportunities for life-long learning.
To achieve these objectives, Governments agreed to:
At the multilateral level, governments committed themselves to encouraging horizontal cooperation in education, and instructed the international agencies (the OAS, the Inter-American Development Bank, IDB, the World Bank and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, ECLAC) to support programs consistent with the objectives set out in this chapter of the Plan of Action, especially for strengthening regional cooperation in the following areas:
Governments recommended to the IDB that in three years it should more than double its volume of new lending to primary and secondary education and requested that it set up a special regional fund for education.
Governments also requested the OAS, in consultation with the coordinating countries, to convene technical consultation forums for countries of the hemisphere to assist in implementing the commitments noted above. To this end, they entrusted the Meeting of Education Ministers, to be convened by the OAS, to develop a plan for implementing this initiative.
Ministers of education from the Americas met in Brasilia, on July 20-22, 1998. At the meeting it was decided that Brazil and Canada would also serve as co-coordinators, and that the current working group, composed of Mexico, Argentina, Chile, United States, Brazil, Canada, Barbados, Jamaica, Colombia and El Salvador, would continue its work until December 31, 1998. Thereafter, a working group of five countries would be formed, comprising of one representative from the Andean Group, the Southern Cone, and Central America. Two representatives were appointed from the Caribbean zone.
This working group are responsible for the follow-up mechanism and include active participation by ministers of education. They have approved the Inter-American Program of Education, which sets out general guidelines for implementing this initiative. The OAS, through USDE, will provide secretariat services as needed.
This Inter-American Program of Education includes six projects that were the subject of a collective planning effort by technical representatives from member countries' education ministries during the programming meeting held at OAS headquarters on August 18 and 19, 1998. The activities that make up the multinational projects will be executed beginning in January, 1999. Financing was approved by the OAS for a total of $2,158,100 for the six following projects:
Education for Social Sectors Requiring Priority Attention: This project will focus on promoting compensatory policies and programs aimed at basic education, with particular attention being paid to the education of women and the disabled, and to initial education among vulnerable segments of the population.
Professionalization of Teachers and Educational Administrators: This project will continue with a series of national and regional efforts aimed at upgrading the teaching profession through new training strategies involving both the physical presence of instructors as well as modern information and communications technologies.
Strengthening Educational Management and Institutional Development: With this project, the education ministers aim to identify and systematize experiences arising from educational management reform processes.
Education for Work and Youth Development: This project is intended to assist educational reform through the systematization of experiences and by establishing links between local job markets and the educational curriculum. Its activities will support the design of teacher training programs.
Education for Citizenship and Sustainability in Multicultural Societies: This project will comprise four modules: basic education for migrant children, bilingual intercultural education, education for citizenship, and environmental education for sustainability at the regional level. This project represents a joint response by the OAS and UNESCO to the mandates of the Santa Cruz de la Sierra Summit on Sustainable Development and the Second Summit of the Americas as regards environmental and education issues. To date, the project has produced a document entitled, 'Education for a Sustainable Future in the Americas', which was discussed at a meeting of experts called by the ministry of education of Colombia.
Exchange of Teachers and Students for Study of the OAS Official Languages: Through the Regional Adult Education Center for Latin America and the Caribbean, this project will supply Spanish-language training for the OASs English-speaking member states.
During the second half of 1998, technical seminars were held, with funding from the Plurinational Cooperation Project, on educational initiatives relating to hemispheric summits, under the coordination of the Ministry of Education of Chile, and specific multinational meetings and seminars relating to the mandates of the Second Summit.
In order to coordinate this mandates follow-up with other international organizations, the OAS General Secretariat has been regularly attending the meetings of the Inter-Agency Education Follow-up Group of the Santiago Summit, which comprises representatives coordinating the Education initiative and representatives of the IDB, OAS, World Bank, ECLAC, and UNESCO. At its meeting in Mexico, March 22-23, 1999, the Group revised the lines of action and the multinational projects. (For more information, please see the Reporton activities carried out in the field of education in the framework of the OAS to the Summit of the Americas Education Monitoring Group)
During the second quarter of 1999 and within the framework of an OAS-UNESCO agreement, a review was conducted of the presentations made at the round-table discussion on education held in March, 1998. This round table discussion had been held as part of the celebrations to mark the Fiftieth Anniversary of the OAS. The purpose of the review was to draft a new document that would examine the progress of the educational reforms underway in the Hemisphere. Attention was given to policies adopted, principles applied, and progress achieved. The proposals on education put forward at the Conference on the Fiftieth Anniversary of the OAS, during the Second Summit of the Americas, and at the meeting of Ministers of Education in Brazil, in July, 1998, helped to form the conceptual framework for the review.
In June of 1999, the XXIX OAS General Assembly held in Guatemala adopted a resolution entitled "Inter-American Program on Education," which instructs the OAS' Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI) to study the possibility of convening the Second Meeting of Ministers of Education in 2000 to evaluate implementation of the mandates of the Santiago Summit and of the Inter-American Program of Education. That meeting would also provide an opportunity to issue recommendations on the future of hemispheric cooperation in this area.
The Secretary of Public Education of the Mexican Government, who is responsible coordinator of this initiative, has created a web page that contains information regarding programs and projects derived from the mandates of the Summit of the Americas. This page is found at the following address: http://www.sep.gob.mx/cumbre/idioma.htm
World Symposium on Early Childhood Education for the 21st Century
One of the main objectives of the UDSE was to complement the initiative, entitled Junta Nacional de Jardines Infantiles (National Board of Kindergartens, or JUNJI), of Chile, to organize and conduct a Symposium which was held March 1 to 4, 2000 in Santiago, Chile. The event was attended by participants from all over the world and was sponsored by the Government of Chile and other national and international agencies such as the Chamber of Deputies of Chile, the OAS, UNICEF, UNESCO, PAHO, CEPAL, CELEP, the Pontifical University of Chile, and the Catholic University of Chile, among others. A joint declaration was approved, entitled Declaración de Santiago a Favor de la Infancia Mundial (Santiago Declaration on Behalf of the World’s Children). The Declaration set priorities in the field of child education and defined a method for them to be carried out in the new Century. Measures to implement the commitments of this Declaration began in April, 2000.
First meeting of the Summit of the Americas Education Indicators Project
The Chilean Ministry of Education and the United States Department of Education organized and held a meeting to launch the Summit of the Americas Education Indicators Project on August 3-4, 2000, in Washington D.C. Participants in the meeting included Government officials representing the Education Ministries from the 34 member states of the Summit Process.
As a contribution to the Chilean-led regional project, the United States offered to host this meeting in order to discuss the proposal that Chile had previously drafted in collaboration with OREALC/UNESCO. Some of the main points of this proposal highlighted included the background, characteristics, and need for the "Indicators of the Americas" project in addition to outlining both the short-term and long-term goals. Specifically, it was determined that the short-term goal would be to present a progress report to Leaders at the Third Summit of the Americas in Canada next year, particularly taking into account the use of indicators as a "baseline" to measure the progress made in improving education in the hemisphere. Moreover, the longer-term goal would be producing and analyzing a set of basic, comparable indicators for the region that will contribute to education policy decision-making by each of the region’s national governments.
Furthermore, complying with the Santiago Summit’s Education mandate regarding Education Assessment, the Government of Brazil also presented a project on this issue. This project addressed the direct inquiries that Brazil made to the 34 countries participating in the Summit. Some of the most relevant results of the project showed that in most countries, there are National Assessment Systems covering various education levels and modalities. The most recurring findings were the use of both academic aptitude tests for admission to higher education, and Government assessments of National Education programs and projects. As a result of the survey and of a workshop that took place in Brasilia, Brazil, in April 2000, three main areas were identified to develop hemispheric cooperation in education assessment. These areas included the reinforcement of National Assessment Systems, technical assistance, and participation in International Comparative Studies.
The objective of the Brazilian project is to create a Hemispheric Forum for Education Assessment. The coordination of the Forum would rotate with biannual frequency. This would create "a negotiating and coordinating entity" aimed at improving the quality of education in the countries participating in the Summit of the Americas. The meetings of the Forum will be held annually.
During the meeting in Washington, representatives from other organizations including UNESCO/OREALC, CREMIS, OECS, MERCOSUR, World Education Indicators (WEI), and the Convenio Andrés Bello also made presentations about their programs and activities.
Follow Up of the Group for Education
On September 6-8, 2000, the Follow Up of the Group for Education of The Summit of the Americas held a meeting in Mexico City, Mexico.
The meeting discussed the following objectives:
The meeting brought together representatives of 18 countries from the Americas, the OAS, the IDB, the World Bank, the Regional Education Office for Latin America and the Caribbean for UNESCO (ORELA/UNESCO), the Program for the Promotion of Educational Reform in Latin American and the Caribbean (PREAL), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID/LC).
A publication was distributed to Member States with the Follow Up Group's conclusions and recommendations from the meeting. It will be used as part of the preparatory process for the next Summit of the Americas.
The mandates and initiatives for education were reinvigorated and fortified at the 2001 Quebec City Summit of the Americas. For more information on these mandates, and to continue with follow up activities in the area of education, please click here.Updated June 7, 2001 [Education/tracker.htm]