The meeting, which will be opened by the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, and the Argentine Minister of Education, Daniel Filmus, will focus primarily on how the region can attain quality education for all by 2017, deadline set by these authorities during the first PRELAC meeting in November 2002 in Havana (Cuba). Latin America and the Caribbean have adopted this date to reach the goals defined by the international community during the World Education Forum in Dakar (Senegal) in 2000.
The central topic of the Buenos Aires meeting will be quality education for all, as a public good and a fundamental human right that States must respect, promote and safeguard, so as to guarantee equal opportunity in the access and appropriation of knowledge.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, despite pronounced inequalities, there has been a decrease in the rate of illiteracy since the beginning of this decade. But at the present pace, the decrease will not suffice to reach the targets set in Dakar. According to data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, some 38.6 million adults in the region (55% of them women) cannot read or write. This figure, combined with the 88 million people over the age of 15 who were unable to complete their primary schooling, represents a major challenge for educational policies.
During the two-day meeting, the ministers will also examine the role of the teacher in the educational process – how the profession is exercised, its quality and the policies in this domain – as well as ways to increase the part of public spending allocated to education. (In 2004, the regional average expenditure for education remained below 5% of the GDP.)
The meeting will be held at the Intercontinental Hotel (Moreno, 809).