18 de Enero 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

Examples of Collaboration Between Non-governmental Organizations

Collaboration in Dissemination of Research on Education. A major obstacle to the development of knowledge about other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean has been access to research about their education systems. Relatively few books have been and are published about education in the various countries; what books and monographs that are published do not circulate widely and consequently are not found in university or public libraries. In any given year there are only a handful of journals that publish research. Of these only La Educación, published by the Organization of American States, is widely circulated across the region and has been published for more than 20 years.23 Brazilian journals seldom travel to Spanish speaking countries, and journals in Spanish generally are read predominantly in the country in which they are published. A journal may be of high quality but have few subscribers and no subsidy; publication is always precarious (Schiefelbein, 1990).24

A number of international organizations working in Latin America have attempted to overcome limited access to research on education through the development of networks linking researchers together, and through newsletters and bulletins and occasional monographs describing research activities and findings. Each of these efforts has contributed to the development of research in the region, but none of them has survived for a long period. All of the networks that no longer exist depended on a central organization that could fund research and maintain the dissemination device. Once funding ended, the network dissolved.25

One network, however, began more than 25 years ago and is still in existence. Its experience provides some lessons in what is required to sustain this form of international cooperation. The activities that grew into the Latin American Network of Education Research Centers (REDUC) began as an effort by one center to provide a service to education researchers in its own country. Following a national congress on education research in 1972, CIDE (Center for Educational Research and Development) in Santiago, Chile published abstracts of the research reported for distribution to researchers in Chile. Given a positive response, CIDE then started abstracting all the education research documents it could find in various public and private libraries, including the UNESCO regional office. Collections of the abstracts were published with a detailed index, and circulated among other centers like CIDE (funded and staffed through the Society of Jesus), that were invited to contribute documents or abstracts for inclusion in future collections. Membership in the loose network grew quickly with inclusion of other research centers; these came together in 1985 to create REDUC, which now includes 26 public and private research centers in 15 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. At present the REDUC collection includes almost 30,000 research documents about education in Latin America and the Caribbean. Abstracts of all the documents, in Spanish, are available on microfiche and interactive CD-ROM and it is possible to obtain paper copies of the original documents.26 Each participating research center is responsible for abstracting documents that it receives through its own channels; these are published in paper form by the center, and loaded onto microfiche and CD-ROM in Santiago.

Grants from various international agencies have been used to assist the participating centers to increase utilization of the research. The efforts include:
  • reviews of research on critical policy issues;
  • organization (together with other research organizations) of training courses in policy analysis and planning using REDUC materials; and
  • development of computer-based simulation models of education systems, now being used in workshops in various ministries of education, universities, and regional think tanks.
 The critical elements in the survival and success of REDUC as an example of international cooperation appear to have been its:
  • decision to not filter the documents entered into its collection, that is, to validate the efforts of colleagues in other centers and countries;
  • constant efforts to forge connections, to expand the network to include education research centers in many countries;
  • concern for utilization of the product of REDUC by a diverse audience but especially policy makers and others with resources.
Not incidental to the success of the effort was the initial network of researchers who knew each other, a strong management team at the central office of REDUC, and success in generating funding from international agencies (Cariola, 1996; Schiefelbein, 1996).

Collaboration to Promote Dialogue About Education. The Partnership for Educational Revitalization in the Americas (PREAL) is a recently initiated joint project of the Inter-American Dialogue and the Corporation for Development Research (CINDE). The objective of PREAL is to make education a central topic in policy debates in the larger society. This is pursued by occasional papers on critical issues, in English, Spanish and Portuguese; newsletters reporting on critical events in education throughout the region; conferences and seminars attended by politicians, researchers, educators and other groups; and sponsorship of collaborative research at the regional level.  Recent publications include a study of the Fe y Alegria schools in Latin America; a description of financial indicators used in the OECD countries and their applicability to the countries of MERCOSUR; and a comparison of education reforms in five Central American countries. This latter study was jointly sponsored by PREAL, the Universidad Centroamericana, and the Ford Foundation. The membership of PREAL includes a number of other non-governmental organizations engaged in education research and promotion.

[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]