13 de Diciembre de 2018
Portal Educativo de las Américas
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Colección: Trends for a common future
Autor: Noel F. McGinn
Título: Toward International Cooperation in Education for the Integration of the Americas

The Current Situation of Education in the Americas7

Important gains have been made in education in the Americas during the past 50 years. Overall, on every measure of quantity and quality of inputs, schools today are better than they were half a century ago. Teachers have received more training, classes are smaller, more students have textbooks and they are of better quality, curriculum have been revised in accord with developments in cognitive psychology and advances in science. Literacy rates have declined notably and the average level of education in the population has grown steadily.

Yet, we are dissatisfied with our education systems. Throughout the Americas students, parents, employers, politicians, the mass media and others complain that we are not providing the education required for the 21st century. Schools and universities are criticized for inefficiency in use of resources, low levels of achievement of their students, poor preparation for employment, high dropout rates, and a generally inadequate intellectual, civic and moral formation. These criticisms are made in every country, from Canada to Chile (Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy, 1986; National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983; Schiefelbein & others, 1998).

In part our dissatisfaction is because of education’s gains. Fifty years ago schooling was a privilege available to a small proportion of children, from the more affluent and educated segment of society. Today almost all children enter school in the Americas, drawn from all sectors of society and reflecting the complexity and problems of today’s society. In contrast with 50 years ago most children who enter school today are from poor, relatively uneducated households. They live in communities characterized by higher levels of family instability, residential mobility, and crime. In addition, distractions and dangers such as television and drugs unknown 50 years ago compete with teachers for their attention. All these factors act to reduce the possible impact of schooling.

We are dissatisfied because education’s gains have not been sufficient to resolve longstanding social and economic problems and leave us ill prepared to meet future challenges and exploit future opportunities. The education that selected and certified a small proportion of the population to innovate and lead what then seemed relatively stable political, economic, social and religious organizations, is today an anachronism, a curious antique living beyond its time of usefulness. The changes called globalization impact all the countries of the Americas. The effects are both intra- and inter-national, diminishing the effectiveness of existing institutions but also creating opportunities to invent and build new relationships of greater efficacy.

[INDEX] [Presentation] [Introduction] [The Evolution of International Cooperation in Education in the Americas] [Cooperation After Nationalism] [International Cooperation as Supranationalism] [Cooperation for International Development] [Resistance to Aid] [Cooperation as Collaboration within Latin America] [Cooperation as Structural Adjustment] [The Current Situation of Education in the Americas] [Current Status of Education] [Summary] [Current Forms of International Cooperation] [Aid as a Form of International Cooperation] [Varieties of Aid] [Uniformization as a Consequence of Aid] [Aid or Assistance from Bilateral and Multilateral Organizations] [Cooperation by Transnational Corporations] [Aid and Assistance from NGOs] [Aid by Philanthropic Foundations] [Aid Mediated through Educational Institutions] [International Cooperation in the Form of Collaboration] [Examples of Collaboration in Higher Education] [Obstacles to International Collaboration in Higher Education] [Examples of Collaboration Between Non-governmental Organizations] [Other Instances of Collaboration] [Summary] [Globalization and International Cooperation] [The New Industrial Paradigm] [Implications of the New Industrial Paradigm for Education] [The New Development Model] [An Outline of a New Paradigm for Education] [Alternative Approaches to International Cooperation in Education] [An Example of Regional Collaboration to Develop a New Paradigm] [Notes] [References]