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Puebla-Panama Plan education Ministers sign memorandum of understanding to support regional programs

Education ministers of the eight countries in the Puebla-Panama Plan today signed a memorandum of understanding to establish an Education Projects Accreditation and Promotion Commission to cooperate on regional education programs.

The signing ceremony was held at the headquarters of the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, DC, where officials from Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama took part in a conference with education specialists from multilateral and academic institutions.

The document was signed by Belize’s Minister for Education, Youth and Sports, Cordel Hyde; Costa Rica Education Minister Astrid Fischel; El Salvador Education Minister Rolando Marin Coto; Guatemala Education Minister Mario Torres Marroquin; Honduras Education Minister Carlos Alberto Avila Molina; Mexico Public Education Secretary Reyes Tamez Guerra; Nicaragua Education, Culture and Sports Minister Silvio de Franco Montalban and Panama Education Minister Doris Rosas de Mata.

In his opening remarks, IDB President Enrique V. Iglesias said that the proposed education commission can become a “great mechanism to foster innovative projects” and expand successful programs to address problems shared by countries in the Mesoamerican region.
This proposal, he added, underscores the social objectives of the region’s integration efforts. “The Puebla-Panama Plan is often linked exclusively to physical integration projects, missing the fact that social development is one of its key goals,” Iglesias said.

The commission will focus on education projects that follow criteria set by the countries involved in the Puebla-Panama Plan. Education specialists will analyze the technical quality of the programs proposed by a single country or a group of nations, private or public institutions or NGOs. The commission will also promote the projects it accredits in order to raise resources.

The Mesoamerican countries have already identified areas in which they believe they can cooperate to improve education, such as teacher training, the introduction of new technologies in low-income communities, curricular reform to improve teaching in mathematics and language, certification of labor competencies and a common system of accreditation for higher education.

Mexico Education Secretary Tamez Guerra proposed a meeting of Puebla-Panama Plan education ministers to analyze successful education projects, in order to use them as a starting point to draft regional programs.

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