Best of 2016 in Education

˙ PREAL Blog

This post is also available in: Spanish

Dear friends of the Inter-American Dialogue’s Education Program, we want to take this opportunity to share with you our team’s top publications and events of 2016. It was a year full of accomplishments that prepared us to start an even stronger 2017.

What did we achieve in 2016?

Commission for Quality Education for All

Our major accomplishment was launching the report Building Quality Education: A Pact for the Future of Latin America, the result of two years of work by the Commission for Quality Education for All.

The Commission recommends action in six priority areas to improve the quality of education: (1) early childhood development, (2) teaching excellence, (3) learning assessments, (4) new technologies, (5) the relevance of education, (6) sustainable financing. Additionally, the Commission proposes the creation of social pacts for quality education that make reform objectives transparent, set goals and resources, and establish mechanisms of mutual responsibility.

The official launch of the Commission’s report took place in the Casa Rosada, home to the Executive Branch in Argentina, and included the participation of Presidential Chief of Staff, Marcos Peña; the Minister of Education, Esteban Bullrich; and the former president of Chile, Ricardo Lagos. Experts and leaders of the education sector also gathered in the auditorium of the Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, Science and Culture (OEI), to discuss the findings and recommendations made by the Commission, whose report was published by the Santillana Foundation.

Additionally, with support from the Ayrton Senna Institute, we launched in Sao Paulo the Commission’s report in Portuguese: Construindo uma Educação de Qualidade: um pacto com o futuro da América Latina. In the next few months, we will launch the English version.

Early Childhood Development

Recognizing that the fundamental abilities that define our capacity to learn are developed early in life, we made important progress in the area of early childhood development.

Following the work that began in Brazil in 2015, and responding to the actions proposed in the Regional Agenda for Integral Early Childhood Development, in September 2016 we co-organized a seminar on Measuring Early Childhood Development in Latin America in Lima, Peru. This seminar sought to advance a common framework for the generation and use of results from child development evaluations, revise some of the available measurement instruments, and consider their advantages and disadvantages, not only from a methodological point of view, but also from an scalability perspective.

In 2017, we will organize a third seminar in Washington DC, with a focus on the quality of early childhood education services in Latin America. Additionally, by mid-year, we will organize a Regional Forum on Childhood Development with the participation of political leaders to promote the implementation of the regional agenda.

Skills Development

In the area of skills development, and with the support of CAF, Mathematica Policy Research and Laureate International, we published three principal reports: (1) The Skill Development Challenge , (2) Untangling the Conversation on Soft Skills, (3) Workforce Training in Latin America.

Additionally, in conjunction with CAF and the National Institute of Technological Education of Argentina (INET), we organized an international seminar on Technical Education and Professional Training in Buenos Aires. The event convened government officials, academics, entrepreneurs and labor development experts to discuss the state of technical education and professional training in Latin America, analyze lessons from successful experiences, and explore opportunities for reform. Moreover, in collaboration with USAID and Mathematica Policy Research, we presented the report “Skills Development Challenge in Latin America” at an event at the Ronald Reagan Building.

In 2016 we also published six policy briefs on skills development topics, including: secondary and post-secondary technical and vocational education; online competency based education; structured or dual learning systems (apprenticeships); and school reintegration for vulnerable youth. Each of these documents contains policy recommendations for the countries in the region.

Other Accomplishments

Beyond the aforementioned publications and events, we stayed active with our PREAL Blog, a web portal that provides analysis of public policies, explores global trends, and offers a space where leaders and experts in educational policy can share their research and innovative ideas. In addition, we continued to increase our impact through social media. Keep following us on Twitter and Facebook.

Looking Ahead

We hope to continue working in each of the priority areas that we have focused on. Specifically, we will expand our agenda on early childhood development, skills development, and teaching excellence in order to promote effective public policies and greater social participation as a way to improve the quality of education in Latin America.

We wish you a happy 2017!

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