SEDI - DEC - Department of Education and Culture of the OAS
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Organization of American States
Executive Secretariat for Integral Development
SEDI - DEC - Department of Education and Culture of the OAS
Untitled Document

Plan of Action of the Second Summit of the Americas

Untitled Document Santiago de Chile, Chile
April 18-19, 1998

We, the democratically elected Heads of State and Government of the Americas, recognizing the need to make a collective effort that complements the actions being developed and executed at the national level to improve the economic well-being and the quality of life of our peoples, mindful of our commitment to the continued implementation of the Miami Plan of Action, affirm our resolute determination to carry out this Plan of Action, which constitutes a body of concrete initiatives intended to promote the overall development of the countries of the Hemisphere and ensure access to and improve the quality of education, promote and strengthen democracy and the respect for human rights, deepen economic integration and free trade and eradicate poverty and discrimination. We have adopted this Plan of Action conscious that all the initiatives are inter-related and equally important to the attainment of our common endeavor.


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.

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.

To achieve these objectives, Governments will:

- Implement targeted and inter-sectoral educational policies, as necessary, and develop programs that focus specifically on groups at a disadvantage in the areas of education, functional illiteracy and socio-economic conditions, with attention to women, minorities and vulnerable populations. Inter-sectoral programs in education, health and nutrition, as well as early childhood educational strategies, will be priorities, inasmuch as they contribute more directly to plans to combat poverty.

- 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.

- Develop comprehensive programs to improve and increase the level of professionalism among teachers and school administrators that combine pre-service and in-service training, exploring incentive mechanisms tied to updating their skills and to meeting such standards as may have been agreed upon. Higher education must collaborate in this endeavor through research and pedagogy, both of which should be strengthened in order to meet this goal.

- 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.

- 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.

- Establish or improve, according to their internal legal framework, educational strategies relevant to multicultural societies, so as to be able to shape, with the participation of indigenous populations and migrants, models for bilingual and intercultural basic education. Similarly, the content of basic education will have to be enhanced, together with respect and appreciation for the cultural diversity of peoples, as well as to expand the knowledge of the different languages spoken in the countries of the Hemisphere, where resources and possibilities permit.

- 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.

- 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.

- 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.

- Seek to use technology to link schools and communities as a way of establishing ties in the Hemisphere while encouraging the participation of higher education institutions that have advantages in this field.

- Further scholarship and exchange programs for students, teachers, researchers and educational administrators using different strategies, including institution-to-institution ties, communications technology and internships which permit exposure to pedagogical and management innovations in the other countries of the Hemisphere. This will contribute to strengthening the institutional capacity of Ministries or Departments of Education, decentralized administrative entities and centers of higher learning.

Funding, Horizontal Multilateral Cooperation Strategies and Follow-up

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.

We also reaffirm our commitment to promote horizontal and multilateral cooperation in the area of education. To that end, we:

- Instruct the Organization of American States (OAS) and request the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and World Bank, together with the other national and multilateral technical and financial cooperation agencies operating in the Hemisphere, to provide, within their respective areas of action, support for programs and initiatives that are consistent with the goals, objectives, and actions proposed in this Chapter of the Plan of Action. To this end, the IDB is encouraged to work with member countries to substantially increase the share of new lending for primary and secondary education, by more than doubling the quantity over the next three years, compared to the previous three years. We also request that the IDB establish a special regional fund for education in the Hemisphere, utilizing the existing resources of this institution. This fund would support efforts to raise educational standards and performance throughout the Region.

- Instruct the OAS and request the IDB, the World Bank, and United Nations Economic Commission on Latin-American and the Caribbean (ECLAC), among other institutions, to use the mechanisms within their scope to develop and strengthen regional cooperation in areas such as distance education, using, among other means, satellite technology; internships and exchange programs; the development and use of information technology for education; the updating of education statistics; and quality assessment, while striving to ensure that this cooperation is in keeping with the specific needs of each country. We recognize the role and interest in these efforts of specialized international organizations, such as United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Likewise, we recognize the contributions of the private sector, philanthropic foundations, and pertinent non-governmental organizations.

- Instruct the OAS to foster, articulate and facilitate, through ministerial meetings and other mechanisms being developed by member States in the framework of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI), collaboration and joint effort in the Hemisphere and, to that end, to convene, in consultation with the coordinating countries, technical consultation forums of the countries in the Hemisphere in order to contribute to the implementation of the commitments included in this Chapter of the Plan of Action.

- Entrust the Meeting of Ministers of Education, to be convened by the OAS within the framework of CIDI's Strategic Plan for Partnership for Development, to be held in Brazil in July 1998, with the development of an implementation plan for this education initiative.

- Instruct the OAS and request the IDB, World Bank, ECLAC, and other multilateral institutions to report on the execution of this Plan to the Government representatives responsible for review and follow-up of the commitments of the Summit of the Americas.

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