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Archive for setembre, 2011

set. 22 2011

Europeanisation, Latin American integration and education

The term “Europeanisation” is gaining momentum as a label for the many activities that eventually “make” Europe in all the social domains. Education plays an increasing role in these activities, not only because the Lisbon Agenda and the 2020 Strategy aim at meeting educational goals, but also because in many countries there are political and academic debates on lifelong learning, early school leaving and competencies. Significantly, in another world region such as Latin America a similar concern is even older than it is in Europe, and the contribution of education to regionalism have been highlighted recently by the statement of the Ibero American Educational Goals.

Actually, both processes are similar in a number of aspects:

– Both of them rely on open coordination between governments who are to meet targets and benchmarks each one in its own way.

– Their action is underpinned by a sort of  ‘programme theory’ on the beneficial effects of multidimensional educational policies, and moreover, their contribution to economic growth.

– Their very statement is an explicit instrument of regional building, either complementing the EU with more social cohesion or creating a community of Ibero American nations.

– The continuous monitoring of their advances and setbacks constitutes a regional space of debate.

– They qualify their official deadlines with complex arguments. Thus, the EU responded to the failure of the 2001-2010 Lisbon Agenda by blaming the current economic crisis and extending the period for the following decade. In a similar vein, the Ibero American Educational Goals widen the room of manoeuvre for some important governments. If they did not meet some of the global Education for All goals in 2015, they are allowed to reply that their country is immediately committed to other goals five years later.

But an important difference is really significant. While the EU is stretching its area of influence within an stable institutional regime, whatever their contradictions and shortcomings in many fields, these educational plans are much more competitive in Latin America. Actually, the Ibero American Educational Goals have been mostly launched by Spain and Portugal, with key support from Brazil and other governments. But they are somehow competing with the US-backed Program for the Educational Revitalization of the Americas, and the ALBA initiative led by Venezuela.

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