Argentine President Alberto Fernández Thursday said this region had tasted first-hand what it means to be less developed than other parts of the world as he opened the III Regional Meeting of Ministers of Education of Latin America and the Caribbean at the Foreign Ministry headquarters in Buenos Aires.
Equality for learning should be a slogan for the whole region, highlighted Fernández. Education is a public service that must be guaranteed by the State because the conditions for learning are not equal in societies as unbalanced as the ones we have, he added.
In Latin America, the first thing we have to do is to develop education, science, and technology to have societies capable of integrating into a globalized world that competes for knowledge, he went on.
We, South Americans and Caribbeans, live in the most unequal continent in the world where the gap between rich and poor is greater. This gap between rich and poor was tragically demonstrated in the [COVID-19] pandemic, he also pointed out.
Fernández insisted public education must be a guiding cause of all Latin American governments because the other reality of this time is that the richest societies are not those that have gas, oil, lithium, gold, soybeans, wheat, corn, but those that have developed knowledge, science, and technology.
Regarding the consequences of COVID-19 on education, the Argentine leader stressed that it was an unparalleled time, marked by sadness, pain, sorrow, disease, and death in which the world was moved by the loss of six million lives.
The pandemic revealed that there are no criteria of equality in the world, how much longer will the South continue to endure this reality? Shall it continue to be an empty witness of a reality of which it is not a part? I wonder if we really should not join voices to tell the north 'stop, it is our continent', Fernández elaborated.
We have a country that has been economically blockaded for six decades and survives as best it can. We should be very ashamed of that happening in our continent. In our continent, a country has been blocked for five years because of a political dispute and, in the middle of a pandemic, they blocked it when solidarity was more necessary than ever. How much longer are we going to look at this as if it did not happen to us?
The III Regional Meeting of Ministers of Education of Latin America and the Caribbean is co-organized by UNESCO's Regional Bureau for Education. The gathering seeks to secure the achievement of the fourth goal of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, focused on ensuring inclusive, equitable and quality education, and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all people.