March 2021
Students are the main characters in the national educational endeavor, being them the present and the future of Ecuador. Our founding goal is to provide them with equal opportunities and to ensure the development of their potential. Thus, everything that we can build in favor of education, in coordination and jointly with the education community and the society at large, will generate transcendental repercussions for the country.
In this context, the Ministry of Education of Ecuador, with the support of the Ecuadorian Intercultural Bilingual Education System (SESEIB), UNESCO, UNICEF, the World Bank, the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB), the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI), Plan International, the Flemish Association for Development Cooperation and Technical Assistance (VVOB), Desarrollo y Autogestión (DYA) and Unidos por la Educación, have carried out a dialogue process called “The futures of education. Towards a strategic plan for the Ecuadorian Education”. The key objective of this exercise is to identify those strategies and overarching agreements that may drive the educational renovation that Ecuador needs, by considering the country´s voice within this global initiative promoted by UNESCO.
In order to achieve this objective, an extensive survey geared toward the educational community was carried out to explore the expectations of students, teachers, school managers, as well as parents, educational workers and other civil society sectors, on how the education in Ecuador should be to address present and future challenges. Approximatively 428.000 peoples played a key role by freely expressing their pluralistic views through an online open consultation which was conducted between March 1st and 11th, 2021.
The results of this survey added insights to the dialogues and reflections developed in close coordination with experts and different education actors, who participated in eight focus groups on crucial educational issues, with the purpose of expanding the assessment on the Ecuadorian education system and reflecting on those key strategies that need to be reinforced and implemented. 
The online “National Forum on the futures of education. Towards a strategic plan for the Ecuadorian Education”, which took place on March 18, 2021, constituted the third milestone of an overarching consultation process that capitalizes the outcomes attained in the previous phases, aiming at deepening the scope of shared actions and public policies that will guide Ecuadorian education for the years to come. This emblematic event counted with the involvement of 400 participants who, via Zoom, took part in 30 roundtables, as well as with approximatively 22.900 peoples who followed the event via Facebook Live and interacted through a specific online survey.

In the framework of the forum, the results of the abovementioned survey were presented. Through the data that has been collected it was possible to highlight that 49% of consulted students believes that the destruction of the environment is the greatest challenge faced by the planet and future generations. Similarly, 28% of them considered that the utmost purpose of the education system is to educate responsible citizens. On the other hand, 24% of parents, teachers and school managers who answered to the same questions, identified poverty, inequality and the economic crisis as the biggest challenges that the world is currently facing, whereas 21% noted that promoting creativity, innovation and technological empowerment is crucial for the future of education.

Regarding the results of the focus groups, the core public policies which should be strengthened and promoted were also displayed. These policies relate with the continuity of education and the students’ permanence in the school system, the quality of learning with a particular emphasis on reading comprehension, the human talent´s professional career and training, management models, the education as an enabler for other rights, the intercultural bilingual education system and ethno-education, ICT for education and digital citizenship, as well as work- and entrepreneurship-oriented education.

During the plenary session, the main conclusions and proposals from each focus group were highlighted, the same which will be systematized and included in a final report to be delivered to both UNESCO and civil society. Among these conclusion and proposals, the reinforcement of human talent based on meritocracy and results, the increase of interdisciplinary and intercultural projects, the promotion of collaborative networks, the strengthening of intersectoral work with social sector entities, the deepening of actions towards the prevention of violence, the encouragement of family-based pedagogies, stand out.

Finally, the Ministry of Education, Monserrat Creamer, emphasized that her management, as well as the implemented initiatives under her mandate, and in particular those executed during the sanitary emergency, have pointed at renovating and giving flexibility to the education model with and approach based on dialogue and consensus, so as to reinforce the creation of a educational ecosystem centered on school, family and community. In this sense, the Ministry highlighted that all the reflections and inputs received have meant a transformation for education and will serve to build a society based on achieving a common and sustainable welfare, as well as citizens committed to all generations.

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