24th International Book Fair in Havana – debates on the human right to adult education

Teilnehmende des Abschlussforums in Kiew.

On the initiative of DVV International, a conference was held from 17 to 19 February at the 24th International Book fair in Havana on the subject of youth and adult education in the context of the post-2015 agenda. This was organised in cooperation with the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, the Latin American women’s network REPEM and the adult education association CEAAL, and was attended by DVV International’s partner organisations from Guatemala, Mexico, Cuba, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador.

The theme running through all the debates was the role and contribution of adult education and Educación Popular (“popular education”) in the social changes facing Latin America. Thus, the first podium discussion covered the issue of the global development agenda after the Millennium Development Goals expire in 2015. Nelida Cespedes, the secretary general of CEAAL, emphasised that the political implementation of the right to education was completely insufficient. Today, Latin America is considered the continent with the greatest social inequality. Cespedes described the challenge facing Educación Popular and adult education when it came to redefining education’s role as an instrument for transformation and liberation. The discussions focused on the part played by Educación Popular in the development of ethical political and educational goals, as well as the topic of integrating new approaches, as in Bolivia and Ecuador, aiming at a “good life” (“buen vivir”).

The second podium asked what innovative concepts there already were in youth and adult education. The discussion covered a CEAAL study showing the results of the CONFINTEA VI action plan’s implementation in 24 Latin American countries; examples of good practice from education work with the indigenous population of Guatemala and Nicaragua, and the significance of discussion on a level playing field as a principle in educational practice. There was criticism of educational concepts based only on the acquisition of skills. This, it was said, could easily lead to adult education only being understood through the lens of the market.

The third podium, held in cooperation with the Federation of Cuban Women (boasting four million members), studied the role of women in Educación Popular. All participants stressed their commitment to backing the women of Latin America by means of education. To achieve this, it was agreed, a deep, extensive analysis of patriarchy is first required. This, it was said, is the only way to deal with the causes and effects of the existing social order. One important task, and also a great challenge, in the eyes of the podium was to create the political foundations for, as an example, equal pay for equal work, with greater recognition being given to women’s knowledge as an important enrichment for society.

The event was followed by a DVV International partner meeting to plan the areas which are to be the focus of work in the coming years. This picked up on the conference results and examined them in further detail.

A short video of the conference (in Spanish) is available at:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgackSve-6U

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