Best of 2015 in Education

˙ PREAL Blog

This post is also available in: Spanish

Dear friends of the Education Program at the Inter-American Dialogue. We want to take this opportunity to share with you an overview of our main publications and events in 2015. The year was filled with accomplishments and set the stage to start 2016 with even more energy.

What Did We Accomplish in 2015?

To kick off 2015, we published the document Towards Quality Education for All, which introduced what we considered to be the five priority areas to improve the quality of education in Latin America: investment in early childhood development; teaching excellence; standards and evaluation; educational innovations; and sustainable financing. This document initiated the work of the Commission for Quality Education for All, chaired by former Presidents Ricardo Lagos (Chile) and Ernesto Zedillo (Mexico).

In late January, we organized the seminar Latin America’s Productivity Challenge with the support from CAF – Development Bank of Latin America. This seminar brought together politicians, academics, business professionals, and other experts to discuss the state of technical education and professional training in Latin America, analyze lessons from successful international experiences, and explore opportunities for reform.

In March, with support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), we published a series of four monitoring reports that show the state of teacher policies in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic. We organized a high-level seminar in Panama City to present the main findings and recommendations of the reports. This two-year project culminated in September with the publication of Setting the Stage for Improved Learning, a report that analyzes the major trends, synthetizes the most important findings, and proposes areas of improvement on education policy at the regional level.

The activities of the Commission continued with the publication of Learning for All: An Urgent Challenge in Latin America in July. This document provides an overview of the current state of education in the region. Although progress has been made in terms of access, coverage, and investment in education, learning levels remain very low.

In September we published What Has Happened with Learning Assessment Systems?, a document that analyzes educational assessment systems in Latin America in the last decade. These systems have been consolidating in the region, but there are still weaknesses and challenges such as the misuse of data for quality improvement. We presented the main findings of the report at a seminar in Buenos Aires in early December.

We also organized a workshop in Sao Paulo to establish an Agenda for early childhood development in Latin America. Along with our partners Fundação Maria Cecilia Souto Vidigal, Todos Pela Educação, REDUCA, and Bernard van Leer Foundation, we created a network of 30 regional experts who will execute an action plan in this area starting in 2016.

In October we published Building Effective Teacher Policies. This document, which serves as input for the Commission work, proposes ten policy guidelines that we consider essential for any teacher policy reform.

Beyond the publications and events mentioned, we remained active through our PREAL Blog, a web portal that provides policy analysis, explores global trends, and offers a space in which education policy leaders and experts can share their research and innovative ideas. In addition, we continued increasing our impact through social media. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Looking forward, we hope to continue working on each of our priority areas. Specifically, we will expand our agenda on skills development, teacher policy, and early childhood development in order to improve the quality of education in Latin America.

Happy holidays and have a wonderful 2016!