Organization of American States Summits of the Americas
 
Follow-up and Implementation: Mandates
 

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EDUCATION: Investment in Education
MANDATES

  1. We affirm that equal access to education is a human right and that quality education is essential, a public good and a priority. Therefore, we will continue promoting access to quality education for all. We also recognise that improving access to and the quality of early childhood education is a key factor in achieving universal primary education by 2015. Recognising that investing in quality care and education from birth through the early years of primary education improves learning, social, health and employment outcomes, we take note of the Hemispheric Commitment to Early Childhood Education adopted by the Ministers of Education in 2007. We call upon the Ministers of Education to increase efforts to measure educational progress in the Americas by the year 2010, both within our individual countries and through multilateral initiatives such as the Regional Educational Indicators Project (PRIE). (Declaration of Port of Spain, 2009).

  1. We support the recommendations contained in the Declaration and Plan of Action of the Fourth Meeting of Ministers of Education, held in Scarborough, Trinidad and Tobago, August 10-12, 2005. We will strive for quality public education at all levels and promote literacy to ensure a democratic citizenry, foster decent work, fight poverty, and achieve greater social inclusion. Achieving these goals requires a substantial financial investment by our governments and international financial institutions. We note with satisfaction the suggestion of the Ministers of Education that our governments explore innovative forms of increasing financing for education with international financing institutions, such as debt swaps for investment in education (Declaration of Mar del Plata, 2005).

  1. We understand that the potential for developing the capacity of our citizenry and attaining greater productivity depends on a well-educated and well-trained labor force. In this sense, we recognize the advances made in increasing access to education and we reiterate the need to expand coverage, improve quality, strengthen the teaching profession, and improve the efficiency of our education systems. We reiterate the importance of incorporating new information and communication technologies in the training of our citizenry to increase their productivity (Declaration of Mar del Plata, 2005).

  1. Progress towards more democratic societies, growing economies and social equity relies on an educated citizenry and a skilled labor force. We have agreed to a series of policies to improve access to quality education through teacher training, education in civic values and the use of information technologies both in our classrooms and in measuring progress toward achieving these goals. Improved education policies and increased investment in our education systems will help reduce income disparities and close the digital divide in our Hemisphere (Declaration of Québec, 2001).

  1. Recognizing that education is the key to strengthening democratic institutions, promoting the development of human potential, equality and understanding among our peoples, as well as sustaining economic growth and reducing poverty; further recognizing that to achieve these ends, it is essential that quality education is available to all, including girls and women, rural inhabitants, persons with disabilities, indigenous, and persons belonging to minorities; reaffirming the commitments made at previous Summits to promote the principles of equity, quality, relevance and efficiency at all levels of the education system and ensure, by 2010, universal access to and completion of quality primary education for all children and to quality secondary education for at least 75 percent of young people, with increasing graduation rates and lifelong learning opportunities for the general population; and also reaffirming the commitment to eliminate gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005: (Plan of Action Québec, 2001).

  1. Entrust the OAS to organize, within the framework of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI), a meeting of Ministers of Education in Uruguay, to be held before the end of 2001, with a mandate to:

    • identify and set up appropriate hemispheric mechanisms to ensure the implementation of the education initiatives in this Plan of Action and to continue to promote actions on priorities identified in previous Summits based on a careful evaluation of our collective achievements in this area;
    • establish time lines and benchmarks for follow-up on the implementation of our commitments in education;
    • establish, in light of the fundamental importance of mobilizing resources to support sustained investment in education at all levels, a cooperative mechanism to promote the development of productive partnerships among governments and with regional and international organizations and the MDBs;
    • promote the participation of and dialogue with relevant civil society organizations to strengthen partnerships between the public sector and other sectors of our societies in implementing this Plan of Action; (Plan of Action Québec, 2001).

  1. Support and promote lifelong learning by:

    • offering varied curricula based on the development of skills, knowledge, civic and democratic values;
    • providing flexible service delivery mechanisms, including the use of information and communications technologies, to foster employability, personal growth and social commitment; and
    • certifying skills acquired on the job; (Plan of Action Québec, 2001).

  1. Promote more effective dialogue between society and institutions of higher education, and facilitate access for all to these institutions by balancing growing demand with higher quality standards and public funding with greater commitment from the private sector; support hemispheric cooperation for research in science and technology aimed at the solution of specific problems in the region and the transfer of knowledge; (Plan of Action Québec, 2001).

  1. The strengthening of democracy, political dialogue, economic stability, progress towards social justice, the extent to which our trade liberalization policies coincide, and the will to expedite a process of ongoing Hemispheric integration have made our relations more mature. We will redouble our efforts to continue reforms designed to improve the living conditions of the peoples of the Americas and to achieve a mutually supportive community. For this reason, we have decided that education is a key theme and is of particular importance in our deliberations. We approve the attached Plan of Action and undertake to carry out its initiatives (Declaration of Santiago, 1998).

  1. Education is the determining factor for the political, social, cultural, and economic development of our peoples. We undertake to facilitate access of all inhabitants of the Americas to preschool, primary, secondary, and higher education, and we will make learning a lifelong process. We will put science and technology at the service of education to assure growing levels of knowledge and so that educators may develop their skills to the highest level. The Plan of Action that accompanies this Declaration defines the objectives and goals we intend to achieve and the actions that will make them a reality. In order to meet our goals within the agreed timeframes, we reaffirm our commitment to invest greater resources in this important area, and to encourage civil society to participate in developing education (Declaration of Santiago, 1998).

  1. The decisions adopted by our Ministers of Education at the Conference held in Mérida, Mexico, last February, reflect our desire to promote specific joint initiatives designed to improve access to education, with fairness, quality, relevancy, and effectiveness. In order to consolidate and lend continuity to our decisions, we have instructed that another Conference be held in Brasilia, Brazil, in July of this year (Declaration of Santiago, 1998).

  1. The Hemisphere's commitment to education is reflected in the sweeping reform processes encompassing all levels of educational systems, and is based on broad consensus with respect to the problems confronting education and the shared commitment and effort of societies as a whole to overcome them. These processes are based on the principles of equity, quality, relevance and efficiency. Equity is defined as the creation of conditions that ensure that all people have the opportunity to receive quality education services; thereby significantly reducing the effects of inequalities based on socio-economic status, disability and ethnic, cultural and gender discrimination. Quality implies the achievement of high levels of cognitive development, skills, capabilities and ethical attitudes. Relevance is defined as the ability of an educational system to meet the needs and aspirations of society as a whole, taking into account its social, cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity. Lastly, efficiency is defined as the provision of adequate resources, used optimally, in order to enhance educational achievements. (Plan of Action Santiago, 1998).

  1. Therefore, the Governments, fully recognizing and respecting national sovereignty and the responsibilities of the institutions of our respective countries with regard to education, reiterate the commitment of the Miami Summit to ensure, by the year 2010, universal access to and completion of quality primary education for 100 percent of children and access for at least 75 percent of young people to quality secondary education, with increasing percentages of young people who complete secondary education, and assume responsibility for providing the general population with opportunities for life-long learning. If these objectives are met, we are confident that we will provide our people with the tools, skills and knowledge necessary for and suited to the development of capabilities that ensure better conditions of competitiveness and productivity required by modern economies, thus allowing our people to contribute as worthy citizens to their respective societies. (Plan of Action Santiago, 1998).

  1. Establish or strengthen national or subnational and, where applicable, subregional systems to evaluate the quality of education, which permit assessment of the performance of various educational actors, innovations and factors associated with achievements in learning. To that end, information and national or subnational or, where applicable, subregional indicators will be made available that can be used to design, carry out and evaluate quality-improvement programs based on equity. Standards for reading and writing, mathematics and science shall receive special attention. Also, where appropriate, criteria and methodologies for collecting data that permit comparison of some educational indicators across countries in the Hemisphere shall be established. (Plan of Action Santiago, 1998).

  1. Strengthen education management and institutional capacity at the national, regional, local and school levels, furthering, where appropriate, decentralization and the promotion of better forms of community and family involvement. Encourage the mass media to contribute to bolstering efforts being made by educational systems. (Plan of Action Santiago, 1998).

  1. Strengthen preparation, education and training for the world of work so that an increasing number of workers can improve their standard of living and, together with employers, have the opportunity to benefit from hemispheric integration. In this regard, consideration will be given to the adoption of new technology based on different options and alternatives, ranging from specific occupational training to strengthening general employability competencies. Special attention will also be paid to the establishment or strengthening of mechanisms that permit workers to obtain certification of job-related competencies acquired through formal education and work experience. In order to confront changes in the labor market and to enhance employability prospects, actions that take into account the development of entrepreneurial skills will be included and will involve the different sectors and offer various options and alternatives. (Plan of Action Santiago, 1998).

  1. Develop, within and outside schools, with the assistance of families and other actors and social organizations, educational strategies that foster the development of values, with special attention to the inclusion of democratic principles, human rights, gender-related issues, peace, tolerance and respect for the environment and natural resources. (Plan of Action Santiago, 1998).

  1. Promote access to and use of the most effective information and communication technologies in education systems, with special emphasis on the use of computers, in combination with revised pedagogical methods and proper training for teachers in the use of these technologies. Special attention shall be paid to the ethical imperative of including the most vulnerable sectors. To that end, distance education programs shall be strengthened and information networks established. (Plan of Action Santiago, 1998).

  1. Make efforts to increase the availability of teaching materials in collaboration with official institutions and, depending on the specific conditions in each country, with the private sector. (Plan of Action Santiago, 1998).

  1. We, the Heads of State and Government, recognizing the cardinal importance of education as a foundation for development, agree, in accordance with our respective legislative processes, to promote allocation of the resources necessary for educational expenditure with a view to attaining greater levels of equity, quality, relevance and efficiency in the educational processes, emphasizing the optimal use of resources and a greater participation of other social actors. (Plan of Action Santiago, 1998).

  • 16.9 Create a hemispheric partnership, working through existing organizations, to provide a consultative forum for governments, non-governmental actors, the business community, donors, and international organizations to reform educational policies and focus resources more efficiently. (Plan of Action Miami, 1994).

  • 16.10 Urge the March 1995 World Summit for Social Development and the September 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women to address the issue of universal access to education. (Plan of Action Miami, 1994).

 

 

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