Washington -- Trinidad and Tobago will host
the fourth inter-American education ministers' meeting August
10-12 to review the current state of education in the region,
using indicators developed through a Summit of the Americas
In a August 5 statement, the Organization
of American States (OAS), which is helping to organize the
meeting in the city of Scarborough, said data from that
Summit initiative show that unless much greater efforts
are made, the Western Hemisphere will not reach its goal
of having all students in the region receiving at least
an elementary school education by 2010.
The OAS added that current trends show that
less than half of the region's young people will have completed
high school by that same date. The challenges are most acute
in rural areas, for low-income populations, and for indigenous
groups, said the OAS.
The Summit initiative, called the "Regional
Education Indicators Project," originated at second
Summit of the Americas in Santiago, Chile, in 1998. There,
leaders of the United States and the 33 other democracies
in the hemisphere identified education as a top priority
for the region.
The regional education project is run by
the Chilean Ministry of Education and the U.N. Education,
Scientific, and Cultural Organization.
The three previous meetings of Western Hemisphere
education ministers were held in Brazil in 1998, Uruguay
in 2001, and Mexico in 2003.
Among the speakers at the Scarborough meeting,
which has adopted the theme "Quality Education for
a Democratic and Productive Citizenry," will be Trinidad
and Tobago Prime Minister Patrick Manning and OAS Secretary-General
José Miguel Insulza.
While the hemisphere has made "great
strides in enrolling more of our nations' children in school,
we have a long way to go toward fulfilling our goal of providing
a quality education to every child and young person,"
The secretary-general asserted: “Guaranteeing
a high-quality education for all is more than just smart
development policy; it is guaranteeing a fundamental human
The Scarborough meeting, Insulza said, "recognizes
that a quality education underlies strong democratic institutions
and just and prosperous societies."
Trinidad and Tobago's Minister of Education
Hazel Manning added that the meeting "focuses on the
link between a quality education for all, [and] employment
and democratic engagement," which she said are "key
concerns of the Caribbean and the rest of the hemisphere
in an era of globalization."
The OAS said the Scarborough event will
conclude with the adoption of a "Declaration of the
IV Meeting of Ministers of Education of the Americas."
Washington File Staff Writer