Ibero-American summit focuses on quality education in Latin America

World Today

At the Ibero-American Summit in Veracruz, Mexico, leaders from Latin America agreed that more must be done to improve education across the region. CCTV America’s Franc Contreras reported this story.

Ibero-American summit focuses on quality education in Latin America

At the Ibero-American Summit in Veracruz, Mexico, leaders from Latin America agreed that more must be done to improve education across the region. CCTV America's Franc Contreras reported this story.

Sergio Juarez Correa is determined to transform the lives of his students. He’s an award-winning teacher at an elementary school in Matamoros, Mexico. Despite wide-spread poverty and drug violence, his students earned some of the best grades in the country. The key to their success he said, was keeping their minds engaged.

“The idea is to permit them to discover things. Traditionally, we write on a blackboard and tell them what to learn. We don’t give them the opportunity to participate in their own education,” he said.

Education levels across Latin America have improved dramatically in the past 40 years. Most people in the region can read and write, and many now graduate from high school. But a recent report by the World Bank said the quality of education in Latin America was among the worst for developing nations.

A key problem, according to the report, was that compared to other regions, Latin American teachers spend far fewer hours instructing their students. Development organizations, including the U.N., said Chile has been turning that around. At the Ibero-American Summit, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet urged her counterparts to focus on improving the quality of education.

“We have attained high levels of education. Our problem and main task now is improving quality. To achieve that, we must see to it that education is a social right,” she said.

Ibero-American Summit Director Rebeca Grynspan said exchange programs among Latin American students and professors can help in addition to boosting innovation and culture in the community.

“We have to improve the quality of educational levels from preschool to university. Quality will give our youth opportunities in the future,” Grynspan said.