Verónica Spross de Rivera, Coordinator of Latin American Network for Education (REDUCA) & Executive Director of Empresarios por la Educación

Verónica Spross de Rivera coordinates the Latin American Network for Education (REDUCA), a regional South-South coalition of civil society organizations focused on education. This network is composed of 16 countries and REDUCA prioritizes initiatives that amplify the voice of civil society and create space for improved engagement with policy makers on priority issues such as early childhood, teachers and principal’s educational leadership, inclusive education and 21st-century learning. She is also the Executive Director at Empresarios por la Educación where she manages Educational Policies with the vision to promote strategies that will improve the educational system.

 

The Latin American Network for Education (REDUCA) brings together institutions from  16 countries in Latin America which work for a common goal:  to guarantee all for children and youth in the region the right to an inclusive, equitable, and quality public education. Education turns out to be the key element to change the lives of about 530 million people in Latin America, most of them being boys, girls, and young people. This network was created in 2011 with the support of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and social organizations in Latin America.

A network like REDUCA is of major importance in the context of the deficiencies of most education systems. There is a notable gap between the vision of an educated population with the necessary skills to fully exercise citizenship and develop their maximum potential, versus a reality, indicating a serious problem of low coverage at some levels (especially in secondary school), and insufficient learning by students.

REDUCA has been built as a free and voluntary exercise to exchange experiences, resources, and projects, to express opinions, propose solutions and agreements, and disseminate campaigns in the public forum; to study and evaluate local and regional measures, programs and public policies and, above all, to respond to the responsibility of adding joint actions among member countries in Latin America and with other actors.

As part of this common aim, the REDUCA Meeting of Ministers of Education of Latin America was held in 2019 and 2020 to cooperate and exchange experiences that would contribute the collaborative learning among different countries; as well as provide tools to accomplish greater equity and quality in education in the region, and coordinate joint efforts to achieve SDG #4: Quality Education. Last year in Ecuador, the conversations focused on the common challenge generated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The main topic addressed included: how to take advantage of the crisis to carry out an educational transformation, outline the return to the classroom, and working together towards the challenge of educational equity and equality in the region.

The 3rd REDUCA Meeting of Ministers of Education of Latin America was jointly organized by Ministries of Education of Colombia, Ecuador, and Guatemala and REDUCA, IDB, and UNESCO in April 2021. This meeting provided an opportunity to discuss the experiences of each country regarding the return to onsite classes with adequate and safe conditions. The event also provided a positive vision to take this crisis as an opportunity to generate even deeper ties of cooperation and collaborative work between the educational authorities and institutions to provide quality education to children and youth in Latin American.

The meeting was introduced by Marcelo Cabrol, Manager of the IDB Social Sector, and Claudia Uribe, Director of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean. During the encounter, the main educational challenges in Latin America to face the COVID-19 pandemic were presented. The topics focused on the challenges raised by the return to face-to-face classes; the educational policy strategies beyond the crisis to achieve improvements in the region, as well as the role played by civil society and the Ministries to guarantee the right to provide the continuity of the learning process for children and young people; and the importance of cooperating to achieve the broad objectives of inclusive and quality education. The Minister of Colombia, María Victoria Angulo, Ecuador, Monserrat Creamer, and Guatemala Claudia Ruiz Casasola, led the discussion in each of the working groups.

We believe at REDUCA the importance of sharing best practices and lessons learned by each country in the region, as well as the actions and policies implemented to address the challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic

Despite the challenges caused by the corvid-19   pandemic, we keep promoting the teacher recognition of innovative. REDUCA’s recognition is an opportunity to share successful initiatives being carried out by teachers in Latin America. This recognition seeks to treasure the role of the teacher, share learning for continuous improvement and contextualize experiences.

2020 has been a very particular year, given the disruption generated by the suspensions of classes in most countries in the region. Teachers and educational centers were forced to find appropriate mechanisms and methodologies to continue supporting learning for students from home. Creativity, innovation, communication with families, and teachers’ dedication are characteristics that define this edition of REDUCA Recognition Award, so we consider it relevant to acknowledge those teachers who, with their commitment, have made learning possible during the pandemic.

The teachers recognized by REDUCA stand out for their student-centred practices, for integrating families in the learning processes, and for implementing strategies for skills development, despite working on distance learning programs. One of the essential criteria considered in the selection process was the ability of the teacher to adapt and provide a technological solution that enables effective continuity in the learning process.

List of the 16 teachers who were recognized for their achievements and impacts

Awarded Teacher Name Institution Country
Anabella Soledad González Labriola Proyecto Educar 2050 Argentina
  www.educar2050.org.ar   
Gislaine Alvez Kamer Bento Todos Pela Educação Brasil
  www.todospelaeducacao.org.br  
Ernesto Arsenio Prado Cortés Fundación Educación 2020 Chile
  www.educacion2020.cl  
Rocío Quintero Sanabria Empresarios por la Educación  Colombia
­­ fundacionexe.org.co  
Susana del Carmen Laguna Lòpez Grupo Faro  Ecuador
  www.grupofaro.org  
Ada Carolina Mazariegos Hernández FEPADE, Fundación Empresarial para el Desarrollo Educativo  El Salvador
  www.fepade.org.sv  
Ludwing Alberto Vásquez Gálvez Empresarios por la Educación Guatemala
  www.empresariosporlaeducacion.org  
María Lourdes Bu Hernández FEREMA, Fundación para la Educación Ricardo Ernesto Maduro Andreu Honduras
  www.ferema.org  
Rosa Asunción Fajardo Durán Mexicanos Primero  México
  www.mexicanosprimero.org  
Hamilton Douglas García Montano Eduquemos, Foro Educativo Nicaragua
  http://eduquemosnicaragua.org/   
Miriam de Morán Unidos por la Educación  Panamá
  www.unidosporlaeducacion.com  
María de los Ángeles Yarati Juntos por la Educación  Paraguay
  www.juntosporlaeducacion.org.py  
Walter Velásquez Godoy Asociación Empresarios por la Educación  Perú
  www.empresariosporlaeducacion.org.pe  
Diana Pinales Educa, Acción Empresarial por la Educación  República Dominicana
  www.educa.org.do  
Marcia Hernández Lemos Reaching U Uruguay
  www.reachingu.org  
Daniel Ballestero Umaña Fundación Omar Dengo Costa Rica
  www.fod.ac.cr  

Considering the insufficient technological resources in school and family homes in Latin America, teachers have been contacting their students by cell phones or via social media in most cases; and some of them have even opened a YouTube channel to share their educational videos.

As a framework, REDUCA has based on documents from UNESCO, the IDB, and global academic experts whose recent analyzes and studies have highlighted the impacts and challenges of remote learning. The collaborative work of the educational authorities (leading the methodological guidelines and delivery of resources to teachers and students), along with teachers (who require adequate and updated methodologies for the hybrid model and remote learning), and parents (providing homeschooling and family support for children) can make a significant difference for children and young people of all our countries.

About Verónica Spross de Rivera

Verónica Spross de Rivera also coordinates advocacy and policy projects including Teacher 100 Points Award, Entrepreneurship in the Classroom, monitoring of school calendar, Follow-up of the National Agreement for Human Development.  Veronica is a Member of National Education Council, a multisector forum, representing the private sector.  Veronica has been a media columnist for OpEds and University Professor for more than 20 years. She has participated in consultancies related to competitivity, human development, decentralization, social programs, social security reform and education. Verónica Spross de Rivera has a master’s degree in economics and studied Business Administration at University Francisco Marroquín.

 

Testimonials

“I opened a YouTube channel to generate resources in sign language to allow all my students to learn during the remote learning.”

  • Gislaine Alvez Kamer Bento, Todos Pela Educação, Brasil

“During the suspension of classes due to Covid, I was motivated to create KIPI, a Quechua-speaking robot to visit children in the most remote communities in Peru.”

  • Walter Velásquez Godoy, Asociación Empresarios por la Educación, Perú

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