Santiago de Chile, August 2004
From 3 to 5 August 2004 a Regional Education for Rural People (ERP) capacity building workshop for Latin America policy makers and managers from Ministries of Education and of Agriculture was held in Santiago de Chile. The workshop was organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, (FAO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UNESCO Institute of Education Planning (UNESCO/IIEP), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA) and the Directorate General for Development Cooperation of Italy (DGCS). The Regional Center for Research and Development in Education (CIDE) presented case studies on the situation of education for rural people in Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Honduras, Mexico and Peru confirming that poverty is much greater in rural than urban areas and that the educational gap among rural and urban communities is increasing. A book co-published by the conveners and CIDE was issued on the topic.
The main problems of education in Latin American rural areas are the low number of children able to progress from primary school to secondary, the level of illiteracy which is higher in rural than in urban areas and mainly among women and the low quality of education. The principal causes behind these problems are the quantitative and qualitative deficit of teachers available for rural areas, school programs and books reflecting urban culture, lack of rural secondary schools where rural primary school leavers could continue their studies, lack of opportunities of adoption of innovative and effective educational approaches, and gender discrimination. Some of the reported examples of successful experiences in addressing such problems where the projects "Casas familiars rurales" in Brazil, "Escuela Nueva" in Colombia, the Chilean program or rural schools, "EDUCO" in El Salvador, AMER in Ecuador, "Educa todos" in Honduras, and the network of "Fe y Alegría" in Peru. A videoconference was organized in connection with the Santiago Workshop with the World Bank Support (Global Development Learning Network- GDLN) on the topic “Education for Rural People: a challenge for primary and basic secondary schools in Latin America”. Twelve countries and 16 connected sites attended as active participants and observers and the audience numbered more than 300. The results of the video conference provided an input to the Regional workshop. Also the participants in the seminar will develop the respective plans in their countries and will discuss later on during the year through a video conference progress toward improved ERP. The workshop, which was the second in the region on ERP , is a follow up to the global initiative on Education for Rural people launched in Johannesburg by FAO and UNESCO during the World Summit on Sustainable Development in September 2002.