Reimagining Education: Preparing Future Generations in Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Clorrie Yeomans

On the 10 May, The British Council, Canning House and the Department for Business and Trade hosted a policy dialogue, where Ministers from the Americas exchanged their ideas and plans for the future of Education in their countries.

On Wednesday 10 May, Canning House held an exclusive Policy Dialogue on the Future of Education in the Americas, in partnership with the British Council and the Department for Business and Trade, during the week of the Education World Forum in London. Throughout the two panels, delegates from across Latin America and the Caribbean exchanged their approaches to improving quality and access to education to meet post-pandemic demands.

The Policy Dialogue began with welcoming remarks from Jeremy Browne, CEO of Canning House; Kate Ewart Biggs, Deputy Chief Executive of the British Council; Rupert Daniels, Director of Services and Skills at the Department for Business and Trade and Rt. Hon Robert Halfon MP, Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education at the Department for Business and Trade. Following the introductions, our first panel, Education in Post-Pandemic Latin America and the Caribbean: Collaborative Approaches to Growing Demands, saw panellists offer shared learnings on supporting learning recovery and increasing learners’ access to education in the post-pandemic context. Moderated by Helen Silvester, the British Council’s Regional Director for the Americas, the panel included Camilo Santana, Brazil’s Minister of State of Education; Salvador Vanegas Guido, Nicaragua’s Adviser Minister for Education; Edna Bonilla Sebá, Secretary of Education of Bogotá, Colombia and Vivienne Johnson, Senior Director of the Planning and Development Division of Jamaica’s Ministry of Education and Youth.

The second panel, Education and Inclusion, saw discussants exchange strategies for building more inclusive education systems across Latin America and the Caribbean. Notably, panellists contemplated the role of strengthening international collaboration in order to boost the access of women and other under-represented groups to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers. Chaired by Tom Birtwistle, the British Council’s Director in Brazil, the panel featured José María Roldán, Director of ATENEA (Bogotá’s Agency for Higher Education, Science and Technology); Dania López, Cuba’s Deputy Minister of Education; Gonzalo Baroni, Uruguay’s National Director of Education; Mercedes Bustamante, President of CAPES (Brazil’s Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel) and Leandro Folgar, President of CEIBAL (Uruguay’s Digital Technology Centre for Education Innovation).

Following the two panels, Helen Silvester, the British Council’s Regional Director for the Americas, summarised the key findings from the policy dialogue. The event was concluded by a keynote speech from Baroness Gloria Hooper CMG, Honorary Vice-President of Canning House and the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Panama, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica. Baroness Hooper invited the delegates to continue their discussions from the week of the Education World Forum with the aim of strengthening collaboration between all countries present.

Following these fruitful discussions, participants joined the audience for a networking reception.

Canning House thanks the British Council and the Department for Business and Trade for their collaboration in holding this policy dialogue; all of the participants for their vital insights, and our audience.

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