Ensuring the right to education of people on the move: UNESCO provides technical support for Ecuador’s national strategy

  • How can emergency response be coordinated alongside development actions while ensuring the availability of educational services that respond to emerging needs in contexts of human mobility?

At the request of the Ministry of Education of Ecuador, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has initiated a process of technical support focused on education response strategies to meet the needs of populations on the move, whether they reside in, or are in transit through the South American nation.

Since February 2019, UNESCO has been supporting the Ministry of Education of Ecuador in their development of a national strategy to guarantee the right to education for hundreds of thousands of mobile populations in the country, most of whom are relatively recent arrivals from Venezuela. The  strategy’s goal is “…to guarantee inclusive, equitable quality education to people who have reached their destination, through regular and exceptional educational modalities, and to promote ongoing learning and literate environments for those who are in transit, through flexible non formal educational practices and informal learning,” explained Cecilia Barbieri, the Education 2030 Section Chief of the Regional Office for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (OREALC/UNESCO Santiago).

UNESCO’s technical assistance is provided by its Quito office and OREALC/UNESCO Santiago, and is framed by the Organization’s commitment to Ministries of Education in the region, which UNESCO supports in their efforts to guarantee the right to an equitable quality education. The national strategy, which seeks to guarantee access to education for the migrant and refugee population in Ecuador, will take form of a national regulation that guides and organizes the provision of public and private education.

Complementing the work of Ministry of Education, United Nations agencies, international and civil society organizations and foundations that promote educational inclusion of Venezuelan migrants have promoted educational inclusion and provided socio-emotional support interventions in various Ecuadorian provinces. These organizations and the Ministry of Education have formed a subgroup on Education within the Inter-Agency Regional Coordinati

UNESCO’s support

UNESCO’s Regional Bureau for Education and Quito Office have organized a number of events over the past several months. In February 2019, a workshop entitled “The right to education of migrants and refugees in contexts of mass displacement”  was attended by 25 delegates from the offices of the Undersecretaries of Specialized and Inclusive Education; Educational Foundations; Educational Innovation for Good Living; Support, Monitoring and Regulation of Education; and Legal and Planning affairs, with the objective to define the guiding criteria for the development of the strategy. The workshop was not a one-time event, but rather the first step in analyzing access to educational opportunities and the design of proposals that ensure the implementation of the right to education. 

One of the workshop participants, Diana Castellanos Vela, Education Specialist for Democracy and Quality of Life of Ecuador’s Ministry of Education, said that the contents “have been very useful for me. Having carefully analyzed at-risk populations in the area of education, I seek to evaluate and generate strategies for fully guaranteeing their rights. With regard to the population on the move, I am looking to promote actions that will make us a welcoming country in the area of education, eliminating barriers to access and ensuring inclusion and recognizing   prior knowledge that allows them to remain.”

In late April 2019, a second workshop was held, and had them aim of supporting the Ministry’s technical teams in the reform of the Agreement on Vulnerability, which guarantees access, permanence and completion of the educational process to people in a situation of human mobility in Ecuador. Jacqueline Bueno, who works in the Ministry of Education´s National Directorate for Democracy and Quality of Life, participated in the event and stated that UNESCO’s support has been important for identifying the needs of persons in contexts of mobility mobile populations, and for being able to support assist their efforts to safeguard the right to education. We invite you to watch her testimony in the video clip below:

During 2019, UNESCO and Ecuador’s Ministry of Education planned to continue working on three priority areas: planning for educational access; strengthening education information systems, and evaluation and recognition of prior studies. These areas are among the strategic functions of the Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (OREALC/UNESCO Santiago), and include the provision of specialized and contextualized quality technical collaboration for capacity building and the formulation, implementation and/or monitoring of policies aimed at fulfilling the commitments  of the Education 2030 Agenda.

This press release was made possible by the generous contributions of María Brown and Juanarena Elosua of the UNESCO Quito Office and Paula Klenner of the Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (OREALC/UNESCO Santiago).