conference in San Jose, Costa Rica brought together representatives from a
variety of organizations, all with a vested interest in improving the teaching
profession. Maria Eugenia Paniagua, Secretary General of CECC/SICA, Jose Luis
Guzman, Director of PREAL's Central American Working Group on the Teaching
Profession, and Marcela Gajardo, Co-Director of PREAL, each contributed to the
opening statement for the day with some background information about the
organizations they represent, in addition to some of the challenges they see in
improving education in Costa Rica. Paz Portales of UNESCO gave the first
presentation of the day, discussing the activities of UNESCO's various regional
offices and the potential for cooperation within the region. Beatrice Avalos of
CIAE then discussed the need to regulations for teacher training institutions,
in addition to other necessary features of policy reform. After a break for
lunch, a panel featuring Dr. Yolanda Rojas, Jesus Ugalde, and Maria Eugenia
Venegas stirred discussion about such topics as the need for standardization of
a target teacher profile to recruit quality professionals, external factors that
can complicate the role of teachers in Central America, recognition of the the
education systems within the context of a quickly globalizing world, and the
constant need for engagement from civil society in demanding policy reform.
Jose Luis Guzman provided closing statements with several graphs indicating
consistent insufficiencies of Central American education achievements. He
stressed that although Central America is nearing universal education, the
focus needs to be on the quality of education, warranting a shift from
"education for all" to "learning for all."
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