CONFINTEA VI Regional Preparatory Conference for Latin America & the Caribbean

"From Literacy to Lifelong Learning: Towards the Challenges of the 21st Century"

10 - 13 September 2008 in Mexico City (Mexico)

The CONFINTEA VI Preparatory Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean took place on 10 – 13 September in Mexico City, hosted by the Government of Mexico and co-organized by the National Institute for Adult Education (INEA) and the Ministry for Public Education. In order to synergise efforts and resources, UNESCO had decided to merge the CONFINTEA VI Preparatory Conference with the regional Conference in “Support of Global Literacy”. The Conference was attended by 180 international participants from 22 countries in the region, among them eight Ministers, Deputy-Ministers and Secretaries of State in charge of literacy.


The draft Regional Synthesis Report was presented by Rosa Maria Torres and subsequently discussed. She underlined that the paradigm of lifelong learning has not yet permeated the educational discourse in the Region, that in some cases it is even perceived as an “endogenous implant” and that intersectoral approaches are still an exception. The Report stimulated many constructive debates during the Conference.


Apart from generating advocacy, creating partnerships and presenting effective practice, the Conference reflected the current discourse on literacy, adult education and lifelong learning in Latin America and the Caribbean. Four Round Tables served to highlight critical areas in youth and adult literacy and learning, among them the key focus of CONFINTEA VI, namely: policy, strategies and financing in adult learning and education. Other Round Tables explored issues around the assessment of literacy and education and the specific situation of multi-cultural/multi-lingual contexts. A series of parallel panel presentations drew attention to effective practice in literacy and education, ranging from employability and health to Information and Communications Technology, groups with special learning needs and inter-generational learning. One panel was dedicated to the regional ALADIN (Adult Learning Documentation and Information Network), an initiative resulting from CONFINTEA V.


Following discussions on key issues and challenges for youth and adult literacy and learning in the region and the elaboration of recommendations and strategies, Heads of Delegations adopted a final Conference Outcome Document, drafted under the leadership of Ms Susana Montaldo, the Deputy-Minister of Education from Argentina. The Document calls for a broad and encompassing educational vision and the provision of learning throughout life, with literacy as the point of departure. It acknowledges the advances made in youth and adult learning and education with regard to legislation, the enhanced diversity of provision, the improved infrastructure and cooperation, but deplores the persisting lack of implementation of policies, the limitations in reaching out to marginalised groups, and the chronic under-funding of youth and adult learning and education. The recommendations take into account the profound heterogeneity of this region and the resulting challenges. They call for more recognition, integration and coordination mechanisms, resources, dissemination of knowledge, systematic evaluation of adult learning and education as well as efforts for more inclusion and participation.
The recommendations include, in detail:

  • The necessary commitment from national and local governments for the creation and reinforcement of quality learning provision throughout life that take account of cultural, linguistic, racial, ethnic and gender diversities.
  • The integration of adult and youth education into public systems.
  • The creation of knowledge management structures and systems of quality evaluation and monitoring.
  • The implementation of initial and continuing training of teachers of young people and adults, in order to raise the quality of educational processes and to guarantee an improvement in the working and professional conditions of educators and school staff.
  • A funding stream that comprises at least 6 percent of the GNP from the public sector as well as inter-sectoral resources.
  • The design of policies in support of inclusive education with gender equity, and quality which encompasses the specificities of diverse groups, particularly indigenous people (including materials in mother tongues), people of African descent, migrants, rural populations, prison inmates and people with special learning needs.
  • The promotion of greater participation.
  • The proposition that UNESCO takes a central and relevant role in guaranteeing the right to education and, in particular, coordinates the goals established in international conferences and monitors the achievements.

Related Information

Regional Synthesis Report on Adult Learning and Education

Contact: CONFINTEA Mexico