Regional Strategy for UNESCO’s response to the situation of people on the move in Latin America and the Caribbean 2019-2021


The right to education of people on the move: UNESCO calls on Latin American and Caribbean countries to provide answers beyond migratory emergency responses

  • The region is facing educational challenges related to human mobility that must be addressed at the cross-border level, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), through its Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (OREALC/UNESCO Santiago).
  • UNESCO has been leading a working group on human mobility in the region since 2019. The purpose of the entity is to promote these issues, experiences and inputs in spaces of political dialogue that UNESCO creates in Latin America and the Caribbean.

17.10.2019 -The conclusions of the regional forum “Education beyond borders: Regional solidarity for the guarantee of the right to education for people on the move” were released by UNESCO on October 17, 2019. The document issues a call to build cross-border regional educational responses in a complex context of large-scale international movements that cannot be successfully addressed solely through national solutions, UNESCO states.

 

Photo: Pacaraima, border of Brazil with Venezuela. Arrival of refugees and migrants from Venezuela. ©IOM/ Amanda Nero

The text, which refers to the meeting held 7-9 August 2019 in Santiago de Chile, contains the points that the participants expressed during the event. These include the need for coordination mechanisms that allow for public policies that go beyond migratory emergency responses; giving priority to formal education systems for educational responses; the need for data that allow countries to plan adequate and timely responses; and progress on mechanisms for recognizing studies and prior knowledge that ensure continuation of studies and the development of individuals on the move through employment.

Representatives from Ministries of Education from the region, government institutions responsible for implementing migration policy and international and civil society organizations attended the meeting. The attendees highlighted the need to expand efforts that would allow educational and social environments to become spaces that recognize diversity as an enriching element and fundamental condition for achieving sustainable development.

Claudia Uribe, Director of the Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (OREALC/UNESCO Santiago), stated during the meeting “there is a generous commitment on the part of destination countries to ensure the right to education of people on the move. However, these efforts require cross-border coordination mechanisms, more funding and a focus on the important needs of formal education systems in order to expand their scope and go beyond emergency responses.”

Summary of the meeting in Santiago

The regional forum “Education beyond borders: Regional solidarity for the guarantee of the right to education for people on the move” was designed to provide an opportunity for the stakeholders involved in this work to engage in dialogue and to provide a context of regional collaboration and strategic decisions to guarantee the right to education of individuals in a context of mobility.

Participants analyzed the main challenges related to the educational response to contemporary human mobility flows and exchanged meaningful experiences for addressing them in Latin America and the Caribbean. During the event, the document Regional Strategy for UNESCO’s response to the situation of people on the move in Latin America and the Caribbean 2019-2021 was presented and modes of collaboration were identified.

The forum featured the following sessions:

  1. Human mobility and the right to education
    Discussion of the regional situation of guaranteeing the right to education for people in a context of mobility, considering mobility trends in the region and globally as well as examples of responses.
  2. Planning for access to education systems: Regulatory frameworks
    Challenges related to the development and transformation of legal frameworks that would allow people on the move to access educational systems in the region. This included experiences improving instruments and protocols for complying with international agreements.
  3. Planning for access to education systems: Information systems and educational management
    Promotion of better records for access, pathway and completion of studies for people in a context of mobility.
  4. Recognition of studies, degrees, certificates and prior knowledge
    Regional mechanisms and progress on new tools for promoting recognition of studies for students in host countries. The main challenges associated with educational recognition.
  5. Inclusive educational and social environments: The role of local governments and cities
    Challenges to local governments related to human mobility, identification of opportunities for collaboration between local partners and local governments. Sharing best practices in the region.
  6. Inclusive educational and social environments: Safe, inclusive and welcoming educational contexts
    The factors that allow educational environments to address the challenges posed by migratory flows. Sharing best practices and experiences related to socio-emotional education and psychosocial support.
  7. Inclusive educational and social environments: Interculturality
    Identification of challenges related to interculturality in educational contexts. Dissemination of knowledge on regional efforts to ensure inclusive, safe and healthy social and learning environments based on the needs of people in a context of mobility and the destination society.

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The forum included the participation of representatives of the Education Ministries of Uruguay, Grenada, Peru, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Curaçao and Mexico. It was also attended by important regional partners such as the International Organization for Migrants (OIM), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, Science and Culture.

The Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Andrés Bello Convention, Fundación Santa María, the Continuing Education Network of Latin America and Europe, RET International, the Jesuit Refugee Service, Cooperativa Sociale Mondo Aperto and the Regional Center for the Promotion of Books in Latin America and Caribbean (CERLALC/UNESCO) were invited.

The event also was attended by representatives of the International Institute for Educational Planning (UNESCO/IIPE Buenos Aires), coordination experts who publish the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report, the International Center for the Promotion of Human Rights and UNESCO’s Guatemala, Montevideo, Lima and Beirut Offices and its Paris Headquarters.

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