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The OAS and the Government of Peru Opened XV Virtual Educa International in Lima

  June 9, 2014

The Organization of American States (OAS), the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture of the Government of Peru and the Fundación Virtual Educa Andina opened today in Lima the XV Virtual Educa International event, an annual forum that brings together educators, leaders and experts from Latin America and the Caribbean to share experiences and ideas on educational innovation in the region.

The inaugural event was attended by the President of Peru, Ollanta Humala; the Chief of Staff of the Secretary General of the OAS, Ambassador Hugo de Zela; the Minister of Education of Peru, Jaime Saavedra; and the Secretary General of Virtual Educa, José María Antón.

The President of Peru, Ollanta Humala, in his speech spoke of recent educational reforms undertaken by his government, "which seek to address the concerns of teachers and to improve their conditions." He also referred to issues such as the expansion of educational infrastructure, equipping schools, achieving national coverage in education and universal access to this "right". "Before, education was a subject of exclusion, today we cannot use that same logic, we have to understand that everyone needs to be educated to be productive in the labor market, and we need qualified people able to compete globally. This is a task that we must undertake together: governments, educators and private institutions," he said.

Referring to the issue of technology and innovation, the President of Peru recalled the need for schools "to take on the challenge of innovation, beginning with teachers, who must continue to train themselves using modern media and new methods of education." The President concluded by stressing his government's initiative to have high-performing schools in each region of the country, "that will allow to provide greater capacity, using the best technologies so that students can strengthen their artistic and scientific skills."

Ambassador Hugo de Zela, on behalf of the OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza recalled that education "is one of the factors that most influences the advancement and progress of individuals and societies." The diplomat said that "to level economic and social inequalities, promote social mobility, enhance the prospects of our young people, promote science, innovation and the development and strengthening of democracy and the rule of law, having access to a high quality education is a prerequisite." In this regard he stressed that in various documents and resolutions of the OAS "the intrinsic value of education as a tool for the integral development of peoples is reflected, and that is why the Organization works decisively with its Member States to ensure a quality education for all."

The OAS official recalled that in 2012 the states adopted the Social Charter of the Americas which "recognizes the value of education in the formulation of public policy." Ambassador De Zela also mentioned other instruments and commitments made in this line, especially those that refer to "Development with Social Inclusion," the central theme of the OAS General Assembly, held last week in Asuncion, Paraguay.

“Education is the great equalizer in our societies, that is why it is so useful that the forums of Virtual Educa have given our states a permanent space to discuss, and share experiences and ideas on public policies with a multidisciplinary approach,” said Ambassador De Zela who also commented that “innovation in education is not just a phase, but a fundamental need in order for our countries to prosper.” The Chief of Staff of the Secretary General concluded by highlighting the need for innovative approaches to development, because “our young people need to be trained and stimulated to think creatively and imaginatively, and that is what Virtual Educa is about.”

For his part the Minister of Education, Jaime Saavedra Chanduví, said Virtual Educa “is a privileged space that allows us to share advances and lessons between various actors and countries and with the interior of our country.” While he predicted high participation in the regional meeting which brings together teachers, governments, students and technology businesses, Saavedra extolled the issues up for debate in the Forum, which lasts until Friday. “The educational innovations that will be discussed this week in Lima are a fundamental element in the educational process, they are like paper, the chalkboard, and the texts we have all used, and all of that can contribute to improving education,” he said.

Minister Saavedra noted that technology “allows us to achieve more effective learning, to hook the student in a much more dynamic way, to create a more stimulating and critical student experience, that is interactive, a dialogue between students and teachers.” The Peruvian official concluded by enumerating the policies and initiatives his country has implemented in recent years in issues of investment in fiber optics, universal access to education, information technologies and education and the modernization of teaching techniques.

The Secretary General of Virtual Educa, José María Antón, discussed how the initiative has grown over recent years. "Today, thanks to the government of Peru and its organizational insights, we want all participants to share their perspectives in an exchange that will make Lima the world capital of education for a week," he said. Among the lessons learned over the past 15 years since the first meeting, he noted that "we have learned that social inclusion is the challenge of our time; multilingualism and multiculturalism must necessarily be part of an advanced society; that education is a civic commitment and a generational challenge; and public-private cooperation is a key factor in creating new models and new practices that help advance innovation and education.”

Virtual Educa is a multilateral initiative attached to the OAS to facilitate implementation of innovative projects in education, which brings together government, business, academics and civil society. In its fifteenth version, which will run until Friday, Virtual Educa is expected to bring together more than 5,000 teachers in Peru and other leading countries, as well as experts in innovation and technology for education.

The forums of Virtual Educa will allow for the sharing of proposals and projects among experts in the field of innovation applied to education and training, and to promote technical cooperation, the exchange of experiences and good practices related to the society of knowledge. The annual international meeting is organized into eight broad themes, and several specific strands for each issue, including a plenary session, seminars, presentations and workshops, as follows: Technology Fair; The school of the digital age; The university in the knowledge society; Training throughout life; Models, technological resources and knowledge management mechanisms; Digital inclusion education for social cohesion and sustainable development; Multilateral and government initiatives Innov@tion in education; and successful international projects in educ@tion: keys adaptable to other contexts.

More information on the event is available here.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-243/14