Latin America and Caribbean education ministers to meet in Chile

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

Education ministers from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) will meet in Chile on Thursday for a two-day conference that aims to advance in defining public policies focused on the reactivation, recovery, and transformation of education as accelerators of the educational goals of the 2030 Agenda.

The meeting is being convened by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Ministry of Education of Chile. It is co-organised with the CAF Bank, the World Bank, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

The organisers said that the extraordinary meeting of Ministers of Education of Latin America and the Caribbean, “Ministerial of Education; Santiago 2024,” will bring together Ministers of Education from the region and will impact 33 countries with approximately 125 million students, who are supported by 6.9 million teachers.

“The ultimate goal of this meeting is to propose an agenda of concrete actions from a political and technical perspective to overcome the post-pandemic educational crisis,” they said, adding that the event will address and exchange experiences in public policies to advance in reactivation, recovery, and transformation of education as accelerators of the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4), and the financing of education as an enabling condition.

The meeting is part of the follow-up to the United Nations Summit on the Transformation of Education (TES), where efforts were established to overcome the educational crisis resulting from COVID-19 and reimagine the educational systems of the future.

Additionally, at the Summit, there was a renewal of the global commitment to education as a public good, through the mobilisation of action, ambition, and solidarity in search of solutions within the framework of existing commitments.

“This meeting of Ministers of Education, which has also invited finance authorities and experts, takes place in a context where, according to various international evidence, we are experiencing the worst educational crisis in the last 100 years.

“The impact of the pandemic has been particularly severe in Latin America and the Caribbean, one of the most unequal regions in the world, affecting more than 170 million students across the region, who have lost, on average, 1.5 years of schooling,” organisers said.

The organisers said that the data reveal that there are historical debts of the educational systems to ensure inclusive, equitable, and quality education for all students.

There are 4.3 million boys and girls of primary and lower secondary school age who remain out of school, which constitutes a core of exclusion that has not been remedied despite the efforts of the various countries in the region.

The director of the UNESCO Regional Office in Santiago, Claudia Uribe, said “efforts must be redoubled so that the recovery and transformation of education are at the centre of the political and social agenda.”

“This requires actionable and well-directed plans that are accompanied by sufficient resources. Nothing less than the future of a generation depends on it,” Uribe added.

At the same time, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, stressed the central role that education plays “to address the dual development trap in which Latin America and the Caribbean is caught, marked by high inequality and low economic growth. Any successful sustainable development strategy requires investing in educational and vocational training systems that are both well-funded and effective”.

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