22 de Marzo de 2019
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La Educación
Número: (132-133) I,II
Año: 1999

Initial Developments in Education after Santiago

Education was the focal point of the Santiago Summit. The OAS offered its political and technical capabilities to support the Santiago Plan of Action. The IDB and the World Bank pledged more than eight billion dollars for the next three years. Other international agencies, like UNESCO and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean also committed their support. The Ministers of Education, convened by the OAS in July 1998 in Brasilia, established an implementation plan of the education commitments.

Some education initiatives are now going forward. The Organization of American States approved modest financing to set out the implementation of five hemispheric-wide initiatives, included in its Inter-American Education Program. It is important to highlight that the OAS Inter-American Education Program and its hemispheric-wide initiatives have been collectively formulated by the OAS Member States and have been collectively approved by the Ministers of Education during their last meeting in Brazil. Such a collective multinational policy-making process consolidates a standard practice in the context of the OAS-sponsored education activities since the 1970s. National institutions are now carrying out the OAS-sponsored multinational initiatives, while other proposals have been submitted to different agencies and are being considered by an ad-hoc inter-agency group, chaired by IDB, for possible financing.

In its Policy Report II, presented last March at the OAS headquarters in Washington, D.C., the Leadership Council for Inter-American Summitry identifies a number of problems that hinder the implementation of the Summit mandates in education, such as competition among countries for leadership, difficulties inherent in the multinational coordination among participating countries, and the complexity of education reform itself, especially in a multicultural context. When one expands such an assessment to the international development community, one can easily realize that the international institutions also need to redouble inter-agency coordination to face the challenges of education reform in the Americas.

In sum, the Heads of State and Government agreed on general principles to guide the formulation of education policies in the Americas; they established priority education reform items, subsequently operationalized by the Ministers of Education at their meeting in Brazil; and they approved some general mandates for the international development agencies, instructing them to support the implementation of the Santiago Education Plan of Action.