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New IDB Report Charts Course to Transform Education in the Amazon Region

-Report presented at education summit in Belém do Pará. 

-Authorities commit to enhance education in the region. 

-IDB and OEI present new app to promote Indigenous languages in schools. 

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and education authorities from 10 countries convened in Belém do Pará, Brazil, to commit to strategies to accelerate and intensify efforts and investments to improve access to quality education in the Amazon region, where a new report shows students have low completion rates and disparities in math, science and reading assessments.  

The meeting is part of Amazonia Forever, the IDB's holistic umbrella program that aims to promote sustainable development and improve lives in the Amazon region. 

The summit, "Learning from The Amazon: Innovative Strategies to Transform Education in Latin America and The Caribbean," included the launch of a groundbreaking report, "Education in the Amazon Region." This is the first comprehensive, data-driven analysis of the challenges faced by regional education systems in the eight Amazonian countries. 

The Amazon is home to 8 million school-age children (6 to 17 years old), of which 6% are Indigenous and 60% are Afro-descendants. The report highlights the stark differences between the national perspective and the overall situation in the Amazon, proposes potential solutions to bridge the gap, and serves as an urgent call to action, emphasizing the pressing need for increased investment and enhancement of education systems to ensure that no student is left behind.  

The new IDB report identifies low completion rates and poor learning outcomes as primary challenges, with the overall secondary-education completion rate in the Amazon (54%) being lower than the national averages (69%). Moreover, the results of learning assessments in science, mathematics and reading reveal significant disparities, with differences of up to 17 percentage points between national and Amazonian averages. Factors contributing to these challenges include the lack of pertinent education, inadequate teacher training and insufficient infrastructure, with schools in the Amazon having less access to essentials such as electricity, connectivity and digital devices. 

The report includes a comparative and georeferenced analysis of schools in the region and reveals, for example, that nearly a quarter of primary-school-age children in the Amazon live more than 5 km (3 miles) from the nearest school, with limited access to transportation, resulting in long, slow journeys to and from school. 

Additionally, the publication offers solutions to tackle these challenges, including expanding infrastructure, offering hybrid educational models, attracting qualified teachers, providing pertinent education, and implementing support programs for learning acceleration and student retention. 

 "Adequate access to education is a crucial requirement to generate a better quality of life and economic alternatives for people, something especially important in the Amazon region, where we have the urgent need to substitute illegal activities with sustainable endeavors. This is only possible through high-quality human capital leading the way," said the chief of the IDB's Amazonia Coordination Unit, Tatiana Schor. 

"To empower future generations of the Amazon, we must innovate and develop solutions that work at a local level," said IDB Education Division Chief Mercedes Mateo. "Better data, infrastructure, internet connectivity and adaptive school calendars will make it easier for children to attend and learn at school. Working with teachers and local communities will help us improve quality and innovation. What we learn in the Amazon through this tailored approach can be a model for other regions facing similar challenges," added Mateo. 

“The Amazon’s future hinges not only on safeguarding its exceptional biodiversity, but also on investing in the 30 million people that live there. Evidence-based initiatives in education are key to this end, directly contributing to promoting sustainable development,” said the IDB’s Brazil representative, Morgan Doyle. 

A Commitment to Enhance Education in the Amazon 

During the event, representatives from the countries that comprise the Amazon region signed a joint declaration as a commitment to the human development of the Amazon's peoples. The commitment extends to mobilizing resources to fund culturally adequate education projects in the region, as well as increasing access to high-quality, resilient and sustainable infrastructure, including digital, and improving the quality of teachers and the pertinence of contents.  

The authorities recognized the importance of human-capital development for sustainable growth and the prosperity of this vital ecosystem. 

IDB and OEI Unveil Digital Platform to Safeguard Indigenous Languages in Latin America 

The event also featured the launch of a new digital platform from the IDB and the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI). “Lenguas: A Platform for Learning Indigenous Languages in Latin America and the Caribbean” is a pioneering app aimed at addressing the critical shortage of Indigenous-language-speaking teachers in indigenous bilingual education (IBE) schools across the region. 

The app is free and can be downloaded from the Android Playstore. In the first phase, it is available for learning Quechua Collao, the predominant variety of Quechua, which is taught as a first or second language to more than 380,000 students in 7,000 schools. The second stage will introduce the languages Quechua Boliviano, Aymara, Guaraní, Moxeño and Uru. 

The platform will serve as a resource for educators, providing the tools and support they need to effectively teach Indigenous languages in the classroom. Lenguas is also part of a concerted effort to revitalize and preserve Indigenous languages in Latin America and the Caribbean, as part of the UN Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-2032). Anyone with interest in learning an Indigenous language is welcome to use the app. 

About the IDB

The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public- and private-sector clients throughout the region. Take our virtual tour. 

About Amazonia Forever  

Amazonia Forever is a holistic umbrella program that aims at protecting biodiversity and accelerating sustainable development in three lines of action: expanding funding, boosting knowledge exchange, and facilitating regional coordination among the eight Amazonian countries.   

The program is based on five pillars: (i) Combating deforestation and strengthening environmental control and security in the context of national governments; (ii) Bioeconomy and creative economy, promoting alternative and sustainable economic activities; (iii) People, aiming at adequate access to quality education, healthcare, and employment; (iv) Sustainable cities and infrastructure and connectivity; and (v) Sustainable, low-carbon agriculture, livestock and forestry. In addition, the program focuses on promoting the inclusion of women, indigenous peoples, people of African descent and local communities; climate and forest conservation; and strengthening institutional capacities and the rule of law. 

Contacts

Planes, Maria Soledad

Planes, Maria Soledad

Borges De Padua Goulart Janaina

Borges De Padua Goulart Janaina
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