Updated September 23, 2003

Archive of Meetings and other Documents in 
the area of Education


Follow Up to Education Mandates


The Third Meeting of Ministers of Education in the framework of the Inter-American Council on Integral Development (CIDI) of the Organization of American States (OAS) was held on August 11th to 13th, 2003 in Mexico City.  Representatives of the 34 Member States of the OAS and experts from other multilateral organizations, including the Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, Science, and Culture (OEI), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the World Bank participated in the meeting.

The President of Mexico, Vicente Fox, opened the meeting by urging the member states to overcome the educational lag of the hemisphere, and stated that although there have been advances in the area of education in Latin America in the past years, the region still has many limitations in comparison to developed countries.  The President of Mexico also announced that an agreement was signed between Mexican authorities and the OAS, through which Mexico makes available the free use of the EDUSAT satellite system in order to allow citizens of the hemisphere to benefit from educational material developed in Mexico and will also encourage the exchange of educational content between countries.

The Secretary General of the OAS, Cesar Gaviria, stated that “the main reason for great inequity in Latin America is related to our education systems, which in many cases, is not able to improve the existing situation of indigenous children, poor families or illiterate families.”  The Secretary General also stated that the economic crisis in many of the countries has elevated the level of poverty, which obligates states to address this problem quickly and “to assume stronger commitments to social and education policy.” Gaviria highlighted that it is necessary to strengthen the exchange of experiences between the different countries and the relationship between the authorities, non-governmental organizations, and multilateral organizations.

Prior to the Ministerial, a meeting on “Civil Society Participation in Education” was held in Bogotá, Colombia on July 28-29, 2003. This meeting sought to gather the civil society organizations’ perspective with respect to the initiatives defined by the Ministries of Education under the OAS framework.  Representatives of civil society organizations that work on education in Latin America and the Caribbean participated in this event. The members of civil society organizations prepared a document that they submitted for consideration to the Ministers, in which they made recommendations on the quality and equity of education, teacher training and the creation of follow-up and evaluation mechanisms, as well as the repercussions for education from the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

In the Meeting of Ministers of Education, key representatives from Brazil and Mexico highlighted the necessity to create an American Education Fund, which would benefit 840 million people affected by a low quality of education. The Brazilian Minister of Education, Cristovan Ricardo Boarque, took this opportunity to request his American counterpart, Roderick Paige, for the support of the United States in the creation of the “American Bank” which would produce an alliance for education for the entire hemisphere.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) claims that they loose 11 million dollars per year in education investment due to the number of youth that abandon their studies.  The level of investment per capita in basic education fluctuates in the countries between 50 and 1.700 dollars per year, an amount that is insufficient for addressing the existing educational needs.  The IDB asked the governments of the region to centralize investment in basic education, to look for mechanisms for holding teachers accountable, to establish parameters to measure quality, and to promote the intervention of the parents in their children’s education.

One of the main conclusions from the meeting is the agreement of the various ministers to “explore the possibility” to convert part of the external debt payment of countries into education programs through the financial mechanism known as “swap.”  The Declaration states that all the participants did not approve the proposal.  However, the document noted that this initiative must be developed, “in coordination with the Ministers of Finance and respecting the countries’ legislations.”

The Ministers of Education in the Americas gathered in Mexico, reiterated the mandate from the III Summit of the Americas to reach the goal that all children in the hemisphere would have access to primary education by the year 2010 and agreed to create an alliance for promoting better quality of teaching.  This was established in the final twenty-point Declaration of the Third Meeting of Ministers of Education, which concluded with the installation of the Inter-American Commission for Education (ICE), which will be a permanent forum to advance the issue of education among the 34 OAS Member countries. One of the principal tasks of the ICE was the approval of hemispheric projects financed through an OAS special fund of US$2 million. These projects will promote equity and quality of education, strengthen secondary education, promote teacher training, and expand and improve the comparable indicators in education.

Highlights from the Mexico City meeting include: to find a more efficient way to manage public funds and promote alliances with the private sector in order to obtain resources.  The Ministers agreed to develop new technologies, promote scientific research and its application in education; preserve the cultural diversity of the region, increase civil society participation in the modernization of the education system, improve teacher training and strengthen projects that improve the quality and equity of education. Another goal agreed upon at the Ministerial meeting was that in 2005, 75 % of youth in the Hemisphere will have access to secondary education.  Latin America has 500 million habitants of whom 214 million are poor (approximately 43 percent), with an illiteracy rate of more than 10 %.

The Horizontal Cooperation Strategy /Permanent Portfolio of consolidated Programs

In response to the commitment created by the Ministers of Education to strengthen horizontal cooperation, the UDSE prepared a permanent portfolio that contains programs for 17 countries in the hemisphere. Based on this commitment the Ministers held a consultation for the purpose of identifying the priority programs. Once the consultation was carried out, they began the strategy of cooperation with the programs in highest demand, this phase will include an internship, in which the staff members of the interested countries will have the possibility to become more familiar with the educational programs, and also analyze and apply the programs within their contexts.

For more information concerning the programs can be found in: www.oas.org

Educational informatics in Costa Rica

On September 30 to October 1, 2002 the I International Internship of Educational Informatics was carried out the Foundation Omar Dengo of Costa Rica that specializes in teaching preparation. Different country representatives and the UDSE also participated and coordinated the I International Internship of Educational Informatics. The principal objective of the Internship was:  to create environments of learning where the computer becomes a tool to make it possible to discuss, analyze, negotiate and collaborate with the formation of personality, logical thinking, creativity and flexibility; and to develop a procedure that is carried out stimulating students in a collaborative work, and to construct and develop a conceptual map and research bibliographic or digital sources.

The conclusions of the Internship were:

Develop a plan to promote the pertinent incorporation of the informatics into the basic education through personal, and/or institutional action, with a medium- length time frame.

Prepare a Report on the Learning and Convictions that arose in the I International Internship of Educational Informatics and to present the Report to the respective authorities of each country.

Submit a proposal on a multilateral project that includes the realization of demonstrative experiences at basic education schools.  

Bilingual education in multicultural contexts

On December 4 to 13, 2002 the UDSE in collaboration with the AICD and the Secretary of Public Education of Mexico carried out the seminar: “Quality of the Education in Multicultural Contexts”. The objectives of the meeting were to analyze the challenges of the intercultural indigenous education and the continental commitments on the cultural diversity assumed at the Third Summit of the Americas, and to support the exchange of critiques of the learned lessons in the multicultural programs of every country. The basic subjects of the seminar were:

 The historical context in the education of the indigenous peoples of the Hemisphere and the challenges of the transition from a multicultural education to the construction of an intercultural education.

The challenges of giving equitable and relevant quality education to indigenous children.

The implementation of bilingual intercultural policies in the different contexts in each country which indigenous populations are present (migrations to the cities, rural populations with hybrid majorities, etc.)

The seminar consisted of: round tables, with the presentations of educational diagnoses and conclusions for each country; an active methodology by presenting national documents on the situation of bilingual intercultural education in the countries from the perspective of academicians, indigenous leaders, and governmental representatives; as well as workshops with discussion and reflection on the national documents and the related presentations.

The participatory environment permitted the exchange of ideas and managed to enhance the knowledge and experience of the participants, who tried to analyze and share the challenges of the intercultural indigenous education, and agreed on commitments and efforts directed to achieve
a basis for a future declaration on education intercultural bilingual.

Governmental representatives, academicians, and indigenous leaders of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Peru participated in the seminar.

Inter-American Committee on Education

The Follow-Up Group of the Education Chapter of the Summits of the Americas convened in the city of Cancun, Mexico on May 29-30, 2002, to draft a proposal for the Inter-American Committee on Education (CIE). As discussed by the Follow-Up Group, the purpose of the CIE would be to coordinate the implementation of the Inter-American ministerial dialogue on education matters in order to keep track of the mandates of the Summits of the Americas and the agreements reached at the Meeting of Ministers of Education. In addition, the CIE would be responsible for identifying multilateral initiatives and helping to implement the Organization of American States’ partnership for development policies in the field of education. The Meeting concluded with the resolution to approve the regulations of the CIE so that it may start functioning as of the date of the resolution, ad referendum of the next meeting of the Committee of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development.

Consultations by Civil Society on Education

The Unit for Social Development and Education has initiated an electronic consultation where civil society organizations can share their perspectives on the role of civil society in educational development. The Unit has invited these civil society organizations to participate in the process, directing them to sign on to the web page www.oas.org/consulta. Once signed on they can register and send in their participation, which will be posted on the same page.

The topic of this consultation is Civil Society’s Participation in Education: Myths, Realities and New Challenges. In parting, a discussion on Rosa Maria Torres’ article titled "Citizens’ Participation and Education; A panoramic view and twenty experiences in Latin America" was proposed. This article can be found on the same web page.

Educational Portal of the Americas 

On the evening of September 25, 2001, at a special ceremony of the Second Meeting of Ministers of Education of the Americas, the Education Portal of the Americas, which is an initiative of the Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development, was inaugurated.  From this portal, a user can access over 4,000 distance learning opportunities, fellowship programs, courses for the ongoing professional development of teachers and other related sites of interest. 

To see this Web site, please click here.

Second Meeting of Ministers of Education of the Americas

On September 24-25, 2001, the Second Meeting of Ministers of the Americas was held in Punta del Este, Uruguay.  The meeting highlighted the importance of education as an instrument to achieve peace, eradicate poverty and combat terrorism.  The Secretary General of the OAS, César Gaviria, the President of Uruguay, Jorge Batlle and his Minister of Education, Antionio Mercador, who also presided over the meeting, each spoke on the value of education for the development and security of the region in the future.

Please click here to view the Declaration by the Education Ministers of the Americas.

Second Meeting of Ministers of Education in the Framework of the CIDI 

On Monday, September 24, 2001, the Ministers of Education of the hemisphere will meet in Punta del Este, Uruguay, in order to coordinate future actions on education for the citizens of the Americas.  This Second Meeting of Ministers of Education will address such issues as education quality and equity; improving decentralization, social participation and teacher education; and the strengthening of secondary and tertiary level education, as well as science and technology.  The meeting will also emphasize the necessity of education in preventing that hate, violence and war damage the spirit of the region’s citizens.  To see the agenda for the Ministerial, please click here.

Inter-Agency Education Meeting / Preparatory Meeting for the Second Meeting of Ministers of Education

An Inter-Agency Education Meeting took place on August 6-7, 2001, at OAS headquarters. The meeting was held in order to explore the responses of international organizations and agencies with regards to the challenges of the mandates emanating from the Summits of the Americas that are relevant to the issue of education. It also proposed some guidelines for inter-agency work that would relate existing efforts on the diverse political initiatives in the region, in response to a commitment from the Third Summit of the Americas.

At the same time, a preparatory meeting took place on August 9-10, 2001, in Mexico, for the Second Meeting of Ministers of Education, which will be celebrated in Punta del Este, Uruguay, on September 24-25, 2001. The meeting included the participation of the Directors of International Cooperation from the various Education Ministries throughout the Hemisphere.

Sub-regional Meetings for Experts on Education and Cooperation

Five Sub-regional Meetings for Experts on Education and Cooperation were organized by the Unit for Social Development and Education and the Inter-American Agency for Cooperation and Development and took place at OAS headquarters between May and August of 2001. The purpose of these meetings was to develop a sub-regional mechanism to monitor the advances made by the countries in the area of education and human development, as well as identify consolidated programs that respond to points of the Plan of Action from the Third Summit of the Americas. The meetings also sought to generate technical and financial cooperation tools that would allow for the execution of horizontal cooperation strategies both within each sub-region and between the five areas.

Updated September 23, 2003

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