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Ministers of the Americas Renew Support for Inter-American Committee on Education

  March 1, 2012

Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS) today renewed their support for the Inter-American Committee on Education (CIE by its Spanish acronym), which presented its report of activities within the framework of the Seventh Meeting of Ministers of Education of the Americas, held until tomorrow in Suriname.

Gloria Vidal, CIE Chair and Minister of Education of Ecuador, and Lenore Yaffee García, Technical Secretary for the Committee and Director of the OAS Office of Education and Culture, explained the CIE achievements in the past three years and drafted the challenges for the next period.

Minister Vidal urged Member States to “actively participate in the execution of regional projects and to keep adding efforts to our several instances of technical and political participation, with the aim of consolidating the work done and assuming new educational challenges.”

The Ecuadorian authority, who chaired CIE for the past three years, highlighted that during her tenure the Committee “has strengthened political dialogue within the region, generating synergies, processes of exchange of experiences and good practices in education.” As a result, she added, the region has abandoned its traditional “separation between Education and national political projects”, because “political leaders have understood that Education must be included as a priority in their plans and projects.”

Lenore Yaffee García explained that “CIE was created to make the mandates of the region’s Ministers of Education come alive: to turn their decisions into concrete projects and actions that can benefit the Member States.”

“CIE promotes dialogue, exchange, and cooperation in the field of education in the Americas. It helps to identify successful policies and practices and to promote technical assistance through horizontal cooperation. “Horizontal cooperation” means person to person, institution to institution, and country to country interaction, with those providing and those receiving assistance on an equal footing. Every country has something to teach and something to learn,” the OAS official said.

The report focuses on progress achieved on “four topics identified as high priority by the Ministers: early childhood education, teacher preparation and professionalization, education for democratic citizenship, and education indicators,” said Yaffee García.

Regarding teacher education, since August 2009, training has been provided for 369 teachers from 23 countries through online courses; the Inter-American Teacher Education Network (ITEN) was born and its website received 28,000 visits in its first year of operation; 18 virtual seminars (“webinars”) were developed with 1,800 participants.

On the issue of early education, partnerships were forged with other international organizations, donor institutions, and civil society, in order to strengthen inter-American institutional capacity. Also, several symposia, workshops, congresses and fora were developed with a wide range of public and private institutions with the aim of closing ties among them.

With regard to result measuring, the Regional Education Indicators Project published between 2003 and 2010 the report “Educational Panorama”, which measured progress of Member States towards goals set by the Summits of the Americas.

As for education on democratic citizenship, the OAS started in 2005 the Inter-American Program on Education for Democratic Values and Practices, which has contributed to spreading knowledge on the principles of citizenship within the Inter-American Democratic Charter through workshops and fora.

Also mentioned among the results for the past three years were the declaration of 2011 as Inter-American Year of Culture and the positive effects in the Caribbean region of the Youth Orchestras Program.

Alter the presentation by CIE, national representatives confirmed their support for the Committee and urged it to further work on specific aspects such as: considering education as the necessary object of a social pact in each country in order to ensure continuity beyond political parties or elections; strengthening the teaching of Spanish in the English speaking Caribbean; the importance of early education; and the need to integrate parents and the community as a whole in the education process. During the session took the floor the representatives of Paraguay, Panama, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Grenada, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay.

CIE was established at the Meeting of Ministers of Education, held in Mexico Cityin 2003. It is composed of one representative of each Ministry of Education of the 34 OAS Member States and it meets in plenary meetings approximately every two years. It follows-up on decisions in the area of education arising from the Meetings of Ministers of Education and the Summits of the Americas process; it identifies multilateral initiatives; and contributes to the execution of OAS programs and policies in the area of education.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-068/12