Para la Educación,
y la Cultura
Foro Consultivo Internacional sobre
Educación para Todos
Dakar, Senegal, 26 a 28 de abril de
Education For All in the Americas
Regional Framework of Action
(Santo Domingo, February 10-12, 2000)
Ten years after the "World Conference on Education For All"
(Jomtien, 1990), the countries of Latin America, the Caribbean, and North
America assessed progress made within the region in terms of achieving the
objectives and goals outlined in Jomtien. Meeting in San Domingo from February
10-12, 2000, the countries agreed to the present Regional Framework of
Action in which they renewed their commitments to Education For All for the
next 15 years.
The countries of the region base their proposals and actions upon the
recognition of the universal right of everyone to high-quality basic education
This Regional Framework of Action ratifies and lends continuity to
the efforts made by countries during the past decade to achieve ever-higher
levels of education for their peoples as attested in numerous international,
regional, and sub-regional meetings . In these meetings(1) as well
as in the actions countries have carried out, we see them put into practice the
conviction that education is the key to sustainable human development. For
education stimulates the broadening of opportunities for quality education and
promotes in citizens an awareness of their rights and responsibilities.
This Regional Framework of Action seeks to fulfill still-pending
commitments of the past decade: to eliminate the inequalities that persist in
education and to see to it that everyone has access to basic education that
prepares them to be active participants in development.
The diversity of situations among countries and the heterogeneity of
conditions within them make it difficult to formulate homogeneous strategies
aimed at reaching objectives and fulfilling commitments agreed upon by all.
This means that countries must convert regional commitments into national
goals, according to their own capabilities. Nevertheless, within this diversity
there is a common denominator of poverty, inequality, and exclusion that
affects a large proportion of families in the region who lack educational
opportunities to aid their development and that of their communities. From this
arises the countries' shared commitment to give priority to these individuals
through differentiated strategies and focuses.
In this Regional Framework of Action countries within the region
commit themselves to establish national level mechanisms for public policy
cooperation that express the shared responsibilities of government, the private
sector and society in general to define and attain specific goals. They also
commit themselves to periodic, open review of their actions. Increasingly, the
new millennium demands that education, which is a right of all, be the object
of State policies that are stable, long-range, arrived at through consensus,
and that are backed by the commitment of all members of society. For this
reason, processes must be developed that are buttressed by information and by
communication, establishing partnerships with all media involved in producing
The Regional Framework of Action also calls upon organizations of
international cooperation to contribute to overcoming intra-regional
disparities by giving priority to the efforts of countries which face the
greatest challenges in reaching their goals.
I. ACHIEVEMENTS AND PENDING SUBJECTS
The Regional Framework of Action seeks to consolidate the major
achievements of "Education For All" attained within the region during
the decade of the 90s. On the regional level these include:
- Substantial increases in early childhood care and education, particularly
for the 4-6 year age group.
- Significant increases in the availability of schooling and access of
nearly all children to primary education.
- An increase in the number of years of compulsory education.
- A relative decrease in illiteracy, without having achieved the goal of
diminishing the 1990 rate by one half.
- Priority given to quality as an objective of education policies.
- Growing concern for the theme of equity and attention to diversity in
- A progressive inclusion of education for life themes in both formal and
- Participation of diverse actors such as non-government organizations,
parents and others in school life.
- Consensus regarding education as a national and regional priority.
This Framework recognizes that in spite of these achievements, a
number of subjects that merit the attention of countries in the region are
still pending. Among these are:
- Inadequate attention to comprehensive early childhood development,
especially for children under four years of age.
- High rates of repetition and drop out in primary school, resulting in a
high number of over age children within grades and of others outside of school.
- Low priority for literacy training and education of young people and of
adults in national policies and strategies.
- Low levels of student learning.
- Little attention to teacher training and professional enhancement.
- Persistent inequalities in the distribution, efficiency and quality of
- Inadequate interface among different actors involved in "Education
- Lack of efficient mechanisms for the formulation of State education
policies in cooperation with those outside of government.
- Small increases in resources allocated to education and inefficient use of
those that are available.
- Insufficient availability and use of information and communication
II. CHALLENGES RECOGNIZED IN THE REGIONAL FRAMEWORK OF ACTION
Subjects still pending present challenges that the countries of the region
have decided to confront in the coming years. They will do so using the common
denominator of the search for equity and equality of opportunity, for quality
education, and for the sharing of responsibilities by all of society.
The challenges are the following:
- To increase social investment in early childhood care, increasing access
to early childhood development programs and improving coverage of early
- To guarantee access and retention of all boys and girls basic education
programs, substantially reducing grade repetition, school drop out and over age
students in grades.
- To assure access to quality education to the entire population, with
special attention to vulnerable social groups.
- To give greater priority to literacy training and education of young
people and of adults as part of national education systems, improving existing
programs and to create alternatives for all young people and adults, especially
those at risk.
- To continue to improve the quality of basic education, giving priority to
the school and to the classroom as learning environments, recognizing the
social value of the teacher and improving assessment systems.
- To formulate inclusive education policies and to design diversified
curricula and education delivery systems in order to serve the population
excluded for reasons of gender, language, culture, or individual differences.
- To assure that schools encourage health, the exercise of citizenship, and
basic life skills training.
- To increase and reallocate resources using criteria of equity and
efficiency, as well as to mobilize other resources with alternative delivery
- To offer high levels of professional enhancement to teachers and career
development policies that improve the quality of their lives and the conditions
of their work.
- To create necessary frameworks so that education becomes a task for all
and that guarantee popular participation in the formulation of State policies
and transparency in policy administration.
- To coordinate education policies that encourage multi-sector actions aimed
at overcoming poverty and directed at at-risk populations.
- To adopt and strengthen the use of information and communication
technologies in the management of education systems and in teaching and
- To promote school-based management, granting individual school autonomy
with broad citizen participation.
- To strengthen management capacity at local, regional, and national levels.
Considering past achievements, pending subjects, and challenges, the
countries, through this Regional Framework of Action make the following
III. COMMITMENTS OF THE REGIONAL FRAMEWORK OF ACTION
1. Early childhood care and education
- A sustained increase of resources for comprehensive early childhood care
and development is essential in order to guarantee the rights of citizenship
from birth, to assure better learning outcomes in the future, and to reduce
educational and social inequalities;
- For this period of life, it is extremely important that joint actions be
undertaken by institutions that offer services in health, nutrition, education,
and family well being. It is important that these services be directed toward
families and the community, and that they offer literacy training and adult
education as well;
- Communication strategies are key, both for education programs directed at
families and in order to establish and strengthen the links among governmental
authorities, policy-makers, and communities.
The countries pledge to:
- Increase investment in and access to comprehensive early childhood
development programs for children of less than four years of age. The focus
should be centered on the family and give special attention to those who are
- Maintain past achievements and increase early childhood education for
children four years and older, particularly for less-advantaged children.
Strategies should be centered on the family, the community, or specialized
- Improve the quality of comprehensive early childhood development programs
- strengthening comprehensive, continuous and high quality training and
support programs for families and for others who contribute to health,
nutrition, and growth during early childhood.
- strengthening monitoring and assessment of early childhood services and
programs, as well as to establish national standards that are flexible,
agreed-upon, and sensitive to diversity.
- establishing cooperative mechanisms between institutions that offer
services and programs related to the survival and the development of children
under six years of age;
- better use of communication technologies and media in order to reach
families who live in remote areas that are of difficult access for
2. Basic education
- By "basic education", we refer to satisfying learning for life
needs. These include knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes that permit
- develop their abilities
- live and work with dignity
- fully participate in the development and improvement of their quality of
- make decisions with access to adequate information
- continue to learn throughout life
- Basic learning occurs from birth, and is attained by children,
adolescents, and adults through strategies that meet the different needs of
each age group.
- The empowerment of learners, the promotion of their participation and
shared responsibility with families, communities, and schools are basic
conditions for sustaining past achievements/accomplishments and for facing new
The countries pledge to:
- Maintain and increase access to basic education already achieved, assuring
that it will not diminish during emergency situations caused by natural
disasters or due to serious deterioration of economic and social conditions;
- Identify groups still-excluded from access to basic education for reasons
of gender, geographical location, culture, or individual differences and to
design and implement flexible and appropriate programs involving diverse
sectors that respond to their specific conditions and needs;
- Give priority to policies and strategies aimed at decreasing repetition
and drop out, assuring permanence, progress, and success of boys and girls and
of adolescents in basic education systems and programs until they complete the
basic levels required in each country.
3. Satisfying basic learning needs of young people
and of adults
- Over the years the region has developed its own programs and rich
experiences in the area of popular education and education of young people and
- The demands and agreements of international conferences offer new
prospects for regional action in the area of education of young people and of
- Providing educational opportunities for young people and adults demands
that actions be coordinated between social actors and those who work in the
fields of health, labor, and the environment;
The countries pledge to:
- Incorporate the education of young people and of adults into national
education systems and give priority to these age groups in education reforms
carried out as part of the key responsibility of governments in the basic
education of their peoples.
- Improve and diversify education programs by:
- Giving priority to groups that are excluded and at-risk
- Guaranteeing and consolidating literacy training
- Giving priority to the acquisition of basic life skills and encouraging
full use of the rights of citizenship
- Linking parenting education with early childhood care and education
- Utilizing formal and non formal quality systems
- Associating the education of young people and of adults with productive
activities and labor
- Recognizing previous experience as valid learning for academic credits.
- Define the roles and responsibilities of governments and of society as a
whole in this field, as well as stimulating greater participation of society in
the formulation of public policies and in the definition of strategies linked
to programs and actions.
4. Learning achievements and quality of education
- The quality of results is a key factor in contributing to retaining
children in school and in guaranteeing the social and economic payoffs of basic
- Determining learning achievement requires establishing quality standards
and permanent processes of monitoring and assessment;
- Systems for measuring quality should take into consideration the diversity
of individual and group conditions in order to avoid the exclusion from school
of children living in at-risk situations.
The countries pledge to:
- Continue to move forward with processes of curricular reform and to
strengthen curricula by including within it life skills, values, and attitudes
which encourage families to keep their children in school and which provide
people with the necessary instruments to overcome poverty and to improve the
quality of life of families and communities;
- Reserve a special place within quality improvement strategies for the
school and for the classroom as learning environments characterized by:
- The recognition of diversity and heterogeneity of students and of
flexibility that responds adequately to their special learning needs;
- The encouragement of teamwork on the part of school directors and teachers;
- Normative frameworks that put into practice the rights of children and
adolescents to participate, together with their teachers, parents, and the
- Skill development for autonomous school management and responsibility for
processes and results;
- Recognize the social and professional value of teachers as essential
actors within quality education by establishing agreed upon policies for
certification, improvement of working conditions, remuneration, and incentives
for continuing improvement of professional skills;
- Provide books and other didactic and technological resources in order to
improve student learning;
- Organize appropriate systems of monitoring and assessment that take into
consideration individual and cultural differences, that are based on
agreed-upon national and regional standards, and that make possible
participation in international studies;
- Stimulate on-going action of the media in order to support student
5. Inclusive education
- Basic education for all requires assuring access, permanence, quality
learning, and full participation and integration of all children and
adolescents, particularly for members of indigenous groups, those with
disabilities, those that are homeless, those that are workers, those living
with HIV/AIDS, and others;
- Protection against discrimination based on culture, language, social
group, gender, or individual differences is a inalienable human right that must
be respected and fostered by education systems;
The countries pledge to:
- Formulate inclusive education policies that define goals and priorities in
accordance with different categories of excluded populations in each country,
including establishing legal and institutional frameworks that will effectively
make inclusion the responsibility of the entire society;
- Design diversified education delivery systems, flexible school curricula,
and new education environments within the community. These should value
diversity, viewing it as a force for social development. They should preserve
innovative experiences in formal and non-formal education in order to meet the
needs of all boys and girls, adolescents, young people, and adults;
- Promote and strengthen intercultural and bilingual education in
multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, and multi-cultural societies;
- Implement a sustained process of communication, information, and education
within families that emphasizes the importance and the benefits for countries
of educating those who are currently excluded.
6. Education for life
- Education should provide skills for living and for developing
- a culture of the respect for law
- the exercise of citizenship and democratic life
- peace and non-discrimination
- the development of civic and ethical values
- the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse
- the preservation and care of the environment
- The inclusion of this learning into either multidisciplinary or subject
curricula presents a challenge to new curricula construction, for joint work
with communities and for the role of the teacher as a life skills model;
The countries pledge to:
- Guarantee that the school be a learner-friendly environment, both
physically and socially, one that favors healthy life-styles and the practice
of life skills, early exercise of citizenship and of democratic values, and
that it provides opportunities for participation in decisions regarding school
life and learning;
- Establish flexible curricular norms that allow schools to integrate into
the curriculum contents and meaningful experiences that are relevant to the
community and that permit the school to interact with the community;
- Train teachers, parents, young people, and adults so that they may promote
and support this kind of learning in everyday life;
- Include specific indicators on this kind of learning in order to monitor
and assess it within the school and to measure its impact on the lives of
- Stimulate and carry out activities in education for life developed by the
media, by social organizations, NGOs, the private sector, political parties,
7. Increase of national investment in education and
effective mobilization of resources on all levels
- The priority of education as a key instrument for development should be
expressed by the commitment to gradually increase investment in the sector to
at least 6% of GDP in order to achieve universal coverage of basic education
and to overcome current deficits;
- Systems of information and of assessment are key components in
decision-making in education. Data must therefore be sought both on the
education system and on its social, economic, and cultural contexts. These
guide the allocation of resources for the education of children, adolescents,
young people, and adults.
The countries pledge to:
- Develop focus strategies for the allocation of education expenditures in
order to diminish inequalities and to assist at-risk populations;
- Increase the allocation of resources for education based on the efficiency
and efficacy of their use, and based upon criteria of equity and affirmative
- Establish mechanisms for establishing budgets and allocating resources
which include broad social participation that lend transparency and credibility
to the management of resources and that guarantee accountability, for all of
which adequate and timely information is of key importance;
- Use decentralization as an opportunity to optimize the use of existing
resources and to promote the mobilization of new resources, particularly those
coming from the private sector;
- Actively seek alternative mechanisms for financing education, such as
public/private sharing and foreign debt/education swaps.
8. Professional enhancement for teachers
- Teachers occupy an irreplaceable position in transforming education, in
changing teaching practices within the classroom, in the use of teaching and
technological resources, in facilitating relevant and quality learning and in
the development of student values;
- The value that society attributes to teachers is associated with the
improvement of their performance, their working and living conditions;
- The progressive incorporation of information and communication
technologies into society requires that these subjects be included in initial
and in-service teacher training;
- Rural schools and those serving at-risk populations require teachers with
higher quality academic training and human relations skills.
The countries pledge to:
- Offer teachers high quality academic training that is linked to research
and the ability to produce innovations, and that prepares them for carrying out
their duties in diverse social, economic, cultural, and technological contexts;
- Establish teacher career policies that
- permit them to improve their living and working conditions,
- stimulate the profession and provide incentives for to talented young
people to enter it,
- create incentives for teachers to pursue high levels of pedagogical and
- develop skills to accompany and facilitate life-long learning,
- increase commitments with the community;
- Implement systems for assessing teacher performance and for measuring the
quality and levels of achievement in the profession, based on basic standards
agreed-upon by teachers unions and other organizations;
- Establish normative frameworks and education policy in order to
incorporate teachers into the management of changes in the education system and
to encourage teamwork within the school.
9. New opportunities for participation of the
community and the society
- There is a growing need on the part of many in society to exercise the
right to participate in education decisions that affect them, as well as to
assume the responsibilities that accompany such decisions;
- Public policies, that require long-term stability and continuity are made
through processes in which the State and society jointly participate;
- The great potential represented by various social sectors such as workers
associations, unions, business groups, political parties, indigenous peoples,
young people, women, NGOs, community organizations, artistic and cultural
groups, etc., is not sufficiently utilized;
The countries pledge to:
- Create normative, institutional, and financial frameworks that:
- create new opportunities for participation
- legitimize existing forums
- guarantee the participation of society in the elaboration, monitoring, and
assessment of education policies, and in the development of national plans and
programs in these areas;
- Create and strengthen channels for communication and consultation,
facilitating the interface among different actors in education, whether
governmental, private, or non-governmental.
10. Linking of basic education to strategies for
overcoming poverty and inequality
- During the decade of the 90s, countries within the region developed
policies and programs to promote basic education, seeking to make an impact on
overcoming poverty and inequality through various measures;
- One must keep in mind past attempts to increase education opportunities
that were linked to providing food, clothing, basic health services; to
budgetary strategies of redistribution and targeting; to support measures for
families through study grants and education activity carried out by leaders,
institutions, and/or community groups;
- Education, in order to have a more effective impact on overcoming poverty
and inequality, must be part of more broad-based social policies and developed
within a multi-sector strategic framework.
The countries pledge to:
- Bring together various activities designed to:
- strengthen education within the ambit of social policies;
- convert assistance policies into policies to promote the skills of people;
- combine at all levels education policies and programs with policies and
programs for generating employment, improving health, and developing
- include within education contents and values that promote solidarity and
improvement of the quality of life.
- Guarantee equity in the distribution of both public and private resources
for education and for social development, and to assure greater efficiency in
their utilization in benefit of at-risk populations;
- Promote programs for the support and accompaniment of children,
adolescents, young people, and adults of poor families and those affected by
social and economic inequalities in order to guarantee their basic education
and full participation in the design, management, follow-up, and assessment of
- Improve living conditions for teachers themselves as an necessary
condition for their professional growth.
11. Utilization of technologies in education
- The current technological revolution in information and communication has
produced new ways for people and organizations to relate to one another.
Education cannot remain outside of these changes. Increasingly, teachers assume
the role of facilitator and mediator so that students may critically utilize
these new technologies;
- These technologies should be included as a key factor in the improvement
of processes and opportunities of teaching and learning;
- Information and communication technologies fulfill a crucial role in the
administration, planning, management, and follow-up of education policies and
- These technologies, which are tools, should not be merely one more factor
for exclusion and discrimination; on the contrary, they should be assessable to
all students and teachers.
The countries pledge to:
- Support use in the classroom of information and communication
- Promote permanent and equitable access to communication and information
technologies to teachers and to communities as well as to provide ongoing
opportunities for training through information centers, better practices
networks and other mechanisms for the dissemination and interchange of
- Adopt, and to strengthen where currently in use, information and
communication technologies in order to improve policy decision-making and
planning of education systems and school administration. This will facilitate
the processes of decentralization and autonomy of school management and the
training of administrators and teachers in the introduction and use of
information and communication technologies.
- At the same time, to reemphasize the importance of books as key
instruments for access to culture and as a fundamental means of using the new
12. Management of education
- The improvement of quality and equity of education is closely related to
improvement in management at all levels of the education system;
- With increasing decentralization and greater participation of the school
community the role of school principals acquires broader and more complex
- Information and assessment systems are vital for education policy
The countries pledge to:
- Define administrative structures that consider the individual school as
the basic unit, with managerial autonomy, progressively generating mechanisms
for citizen participation and establishing levels of responsibility for each
actor in the management process, in the control of results, and in
- Promote national and regional mechanisms that offer school principals and
teachers professional training in school and curricular management, in the use
of technology, and in values, attitudes, and practices that foster transparency
in education management;
- Develop systems for the collection of information, data analysis,
research, and innovations as tools to improve policy decision-making;
- Establish parameters that identify the responsibilities of personnel that
work in the education system, as well as support mechanisms and policies for
- Improve systems for measuring results, assessment, and accountability,
adjusted to comparable indicators and standards, supported by assessment
mechanisms that are outside the education system itself.
IV. A CALL FOR INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
The countries of the region, upon assuming the above commitments:
- Call upon the international community and cooperation agencies to increase
and perfect support mechanisms to countries in order to contribute to the
fulfillment of goals established in this framework of action and to assume a
shared responsibility for their fulfillment, particularly in the support of
countries facing the most critical problems.
- Agree to foster country-to-country cooperation for the exchange of lessons
learned and of useful experiences for improving education.
- Appeal to international financing agencies to align their funding policies
with the directions of national education policies and to increase the amount
of resources dedicated to education, especially in less favored countries.
- Call upon governments and societies to make every effort to cooperate in
the development of policies, strategies and action plans that will give a new
thrust to policies that guarantee to all people the right of access to basic,
quality education and to reap its benefits.