GAWE 2019 in Latin America and the Caribbean: An opportunity to analyze the state of the human right to education in the region

May 2, 2019

The Global Action Week for Education (GAWE) is a great international mobilization that this year focuses on the importance of guaranteeing the human right to education for the realization of all human rights, and also to achieve sustainable development.

In this context, the Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education (CLADE) and its members in different countries of Latin America and the Caribbean will be promoting face-to-face and virtual dialogues with a view to analyzing and discussing the situation of education at a regional and national level. This includes a conversation on the challenges, progress, opportunities, and threats to guarantee this right for all people, on the basis of free and equal access, and from emancipatory and quality teaching and learning processes.

Thus, on April 30th, CLADE will begin hosting a series of virtual dialogues open to the public, with the presence of invited specialists and representatives of CLADE member  national coalitions in 16 countries. The first event will feature contributions from Fernanda Saforcada, a researcher from the University of Buenos Aires and the National University of San Martín, in Argentina, who will provide information on the state of compliance with the human right to education at the regional level. After that, five CLADE member national coalitions, from different sub-regions of Latin America and the Caribbean, will share analyses on the state of education in their countries.

This series of online dialogues will include two other debates on the conjuncture of education, on May 7th and 16th, respectively, featuring the special participation of Roberto Bissio from  Social Watch and Juan Cruz Perusia of the UNESCO Institute of Statistics, also respectively. The two experts will share data on compliance with the 2030 Education Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the regional and international levels, including the challenges and opportunities for monitoring these commitments with the participation of civil society. Following Bissio´s presentation, five CLADE member national coalitions will present their analysis, and following  Perusia´s presentation, six other CLADE member national coalitions will make their contributions to that debate.

The dialogues will culminate on May 21th with a webinar to launch the CLADE document entitled “Educate for Freedom: For an emancipatory education and guarantor of rights”, where reflections will be presented on key focus areas of what  CLADE believes adequately supports an emancipatory education for Latin America and the Caribbean. This document was developed collectively together with members of CLADE, based on related debates that took place during the last two CLADE Regional Assemblies in 2016 and 2018, as well as research and dialogues undertaken with students, professors, specialists and popular educators of the region.

Through this important document, CLADE wants to contribute to the struggle for the right to education in the region, underlining the obligation of States to ensure educational processes that guarantee everyone the freedom to dialogue, to reflect critically, to create and recreate knowledge, as well as problematizing and transforming their realities towards justice, sustainability, and equality.

The results of these virtual dialogues will be added to a regional report on the status of implementation of the Human Right to Education in Latin America and the Caribbean, which CLADE is currently developing, and will be made known at the UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF) in July, for its subsequent launch in September this year.

GAWE activities in different countries

The Global Action Week for Education has already started in Guatemala and El Salvador, where activities to defend this right were inaugurated on April 1st. In El Salvador, the Salvadoran Network for the Right to Education (RESALDE) promoted: a debate on the protection of children and the development of education for this stage of life; a discussion on public education; a Mesoamerican meeting and a national meeting regarding initial and pre-school education. Among the main demands of Salvadoran civil society in this framework are: the investment of 6% of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for education; an education for sustainable development; schools free of violence and the integral development of early childhood.

In Guatemala, the coalition called the Collective of Education for All in Guatemala hosted dialogues in different regions of the country and presented recommendations to the national government to enforce the Sustainable Development Objective 4. Among them include: greater financing for education; the end of gender disparities in education; the guarantee of theoretical and practical knowledge necessary to promote sustainable development; the construction and adaptation of school facilities to meet the needs of people with disabilities and taking into account gender issues; and safe, non-violent, and inclusive learning environments.

The Argentine Campaign for the Right to Education invites citizens, and especially members of the educational community, to share testimonies in video, photo and text to defend the right to education and at the same time communicate how the situation is in their educational contexts and schools. The activities in the country continue during May.

Also in May, in the first week of the month, a seminar will be held as part of GAWE activities in Colombia at  the Congress of the Republic with the objective of taking stock of the human right to education in the country, following  student and teacher mobilizations last year and the agreements made together with the government. In this space, an education assessment will also be made in the current National Development Plan, the General Participation System, and the financing of the right to education.

In Bolivia and Brazil, GAWE activities will take place in June. In Brazil, the activities will happen from 2-9 June and will push for compliance with the National Education Plan, mobilizing civil society to position itself against the current setbacks in national education funding. In Bolivia, activities  will be held from 4-8 June focused on defending an emancipatory education, including an understanding of culture and cultural diversity, and equality and gender equity without discrimination.

In the Dominican Republic, the Socio-educational Forum and OXFAM presented a report on the state of fulfillment of SDG 4, referring to education at the national level, as well as a document that brings together the voices of the educational communities on the progress and challenges in education.

Updates on GAWE activities carried out in the region can be followed through the CLADE website.