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Latin America: Six decades of education goals (1956-2015)

(Español) América Latina: Seis décadas de metas educativas (1956-2015)

The world is focused today on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the 2030 Agenda. In terms of education, governments are focused on advancing and achieving SDG4: "Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all".

Few people are aware of the history of previous international agendas. In the case of Latin America and the Caribbean, over the past decades this region has been the scenario of multiple international initiatives and plans for education: regional, global, hemispheric, and IberoAmerican.

The first regional plan was adopted in 1956. The graphic above and the table below show the plans and goals adopted since then. None of them accomplished the proposed goals within the proposed deadlines.

The year 2015 was the deadline for Education for All (1990-2000-2015) and for the Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015). A new global agenda was adopted in 2015, the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (2015-2030), with 17 objectives and 169 goals. SDG 4, devoted to education, includes 10 goals that cover all education levels and promise lifelong learning opportunities for all. 

Moving successfully into the future requires looking back, knowing and better understanding the past. Six decades were not enough to reach modest primary and basic education goals (1956-2015). Will 15 additional years (2015-2030) be able to achieve more complex and ambitious education goals?
International plans for education



MPE - Second Major Project of Education in Latin America and the Caribbean 

- 8 to10 years of schooling for school-age children
- eradicate illiteracy
- introduce the necessary reforms

Regional UNESCO Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (OREALC)


EFA - Education for All

6 goals adopted in Jomtien (1990) and in Dakar (2000). 

Jomtien goals (1990-2000):

Expansion of early childhood care and development activities, including family and community interventions, especially for poor, disadvantaged and disabled children.
Universal access to, and completion of, primary education (or whatever higher level of education is considered “basic”) by 2000.

Improvement in learning achievement such that an agreed percentage of an appropriate age cohort (e.g. 80% of 14 year-olds) attains or surpasses a defined level of necessary learning achievement.
Reduction in the adult illiteracy rate (the appropriate age cohort to be determined in each country) to, say, one-half its 1990 level by the year 2000, with sufficient emphasis on female literacy to significantly reduce the current disparity between the male and female illiteracy rates.
Expansion of provision of basic education and training in other essential skills required by youth and adults, with programme effectiveness assessed in terms of behavioural changes and impacts on health, employment and productivity.
Increased acquisition by individuals and families of the knowledge, skills and values required for better living and sound and sustainable development, made available through all educational channels including the mass media, other forms of modern and traditional communication, and social action, with effectiveness assessed in terms of  behavioural change.

Dakar goals (2000-2015):

. Expanding and improving comprehensive early childhood care and education, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children.
2. Ensuring that by 2015 all children, particularly girls, children in difficult circumstances and those belonging to ethnic minorities, have access to and complete free and compulsory primary education of good quality.
Ensuring that the learning needs of all young people and adults are met through equitable access to appropriate learning and life skills programmes.

Achieving a 50% improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015, especially for women, and equitable access to basic and continuing education for all adults.

Eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2015, with a focus on ensuring girls’ full and equal access to and achievement in basic education of good quality.

Improving all aspects of the quality of education and ensuring excellence for all so that recognized and measurable learning outcomes are achieved by all, especially in literacy, numeracy and essential life skills.


The World Bank

(hemisférico, hemispheric)


Hemispheric Action Plan - Education Goals of the Americas Summits of the Americas or Hemispheric Summits

Inter-American Education Agenda (IEA)

A tool to follow-up and implement Goal 4 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Resolution Project “Building an IEA: Education with Equity for Prosperity" (VIII Inter American Meeting of Ministers of Education, Panama, Feb. 2015).
- Quality, inclusive and equality education
- Strengthening of the teaching profession 
- Comprehensive early childhood care

Adoption of the IEA (
IX Inter-American Meeting of Ministers of Education, Bahamas, Feb. 2017)

Approval of Action Plan Antigua and Barbuda 2019 for implementing the IEA (X Inter-American Meeting of Ministers of Education, Washington, July 2019).

Organization of American States

American Goals

Metas 2021 - 2021 Goals

(Ibero-American Summits)
Goal 1 Engage society with education
Goal 2
Educate in diversity
Goal 3
Expand early childhood education
Goal 4
Universalize basic education and improve its quality
Goal 5
Ensure all students achieve basic competencies
Goal 6
Increase youth access to post-compulsory education
Goal 7
Link education and employment through technical professional education
Goal 8
Offer lifelong education opportunities
Goal 9
Strengthen the teaching profession
Goal 10
Expand the IberoAmerican space for knowledge and strengthen scientific research
Goal 11
Invest more and better.

- Organization of Ibero-American States

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