Non-formal adult education is gaining in importance in Guatemala. Recently, with the support of DVV International, Guatemala established its own Vice-Ministry for Non-formal and Alternative Education. In cooperation with DVV International and UNESCO, the Ministry of Education hosted the 2nd International Conference on Youth and Adult Education in Guatemala City on 29 and 30 October with over 120 people taking part.
The main topics were “Migration and Diversity” and the question of how a non-formal youth and adult education system can be set up that meets the diverse learning needs and educational needs of a heterogeneous population.
Diversity and migration are a reality in all Latin American countries. Other countries, such as Bolivia, Mexico, Peru and Chile, have already developed non-formal adult education structures in response to the social challenges of diversity and exclusion.
The conference brought together national and international experts, Ministry of Education staff and representatives of civil society organisations in order to analyse the latest trends and approaches in alternative education in the various countries. Experts from Peru, Ecuador, Dominican Republic and Bolivia as well as the coordinator of the Latin American Network for Popular Education (CEAAL) presented findings from practice and research, for example on curriculum development for non-school adult education or on systems for the evaluation and recognition of competencies.
For the team from the Vice-Ministry for Non-formal and Alternative Education, which was only established by law in September 2019, as well as for the community actors who were invited, the experiences and presentations from other countries were of great benefit.
Major advances for adult education over the past year
Since the first conference in 2018, youth and adult education in Guatemala has made a major leap forward with the support of DVV International. Guatemalan legislation now provides for the existence of two complementary systems, a school system and a non-school system. A large part of the Guatemalan population has not been reached by the school system at all, or only partially, and this is where the new complementary system is to take effect.
A national distance learning programme (PRONEA) for non-formal education was established, a non-school education, information and registration system (SIREX) was established, and a certification system for competencies was developed, especially for returning migrants.
DVV International is supporting the Vice-Ministry in particular with the further training of teaching staff and has initiated a technical exchange with the Vice-Ministry for Alternative Education in Bolivia and the National Institute for Alternative Education in Mexico (INEA). Over the next two years, DVV International will also support the creation of two model centres for non-formal education in the border region where southern Mexico and Guatemala meet. This should give access to educational opportunities, especially to the many migrants who have failed to reach their destinations and have settled in the border region.