Education Working Group

The Education Working Group is formed by: The International Council for Adult Education (ICAE), the World Education Forum (FME), the Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education (CLADE), the Latin American Council of Adult Education (CEAAL), the Journey on Environmental Education for Sustainable Societies and Global Responsibility, the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO, Brazil), the International of Education (EI), the Popular Education Network of Women from Latin America and the Caribbean (REPEM).

Summary of the Workshop “Education, Social and Environmental Justice”
Coordination Marcela Ballara

In the frame of the World Social Forum held in Tunisia, The Education Working Group (EWG) organised the workshop “Education, Social and Environmental Justice” at El Manar University Campus on Thursday the 28th. The goal was to shareand wide the discussions generated by the EWG about the current development concept  and its  focus on education as a Human Right. It was also planned to include the discussion on Education We Need for the Future and share the ideas of the emerging social movements for democratization and social and environmental justice. The EWG is part of the new mobilization and citizenship participation processes that emerged to confront the violation of human rights and the environmental disasters. These movements are becoming in some countries an issue for advocacy and political change.

To open the discussion, Paul Bélanger, form ICAE, referred to the multiple Education crisis and highlighted that we are living a crisis that goes beyond the financial capitalism disaster and that shows the intrinsic problems of the current system. This affects the essential spheres of life and expresses itself as local, regional and global phenomenon. The financial multilateral institutions prioritize their own economic analysis of the crisis and propose structural adjustment policies based on the reduction of public expenditure. The Civil Society organizations and social movements emphasize the complexity of the crisis and its multiple aspects. One of these expressions is the crisis of the global political order: the absence of international democratic spaces that allow decision making on problems with global dimension and its different effects at the local level, leading to a weakening of the multilateralism on global problems, requiring collective decision making.

We are facing a global crisis that is also a crisis of education – assumed as long life education. Education is no longer conceived as a human right and is becoming the privileged tool to satisfy the needs of the markets that demand labor force for production and consumption. Facing this situation, the EWG thinks it is essential to give a new meaning to the goals and practices of education, as they are depriving education from its deepest political meaning and from its potential to create citizenship able to think about a different political and economic order that could overcome the current crisis. This crisis reveals growing inequalities and discrimination and the absence of dignity and justice.

For the EWG, it is urgent to re-position the right to education, rescue the notion of education as a human right in its formal as well as non-formal and informal dimensions. It is necessary to widen the sight upon democratization of societies to create critical citizenship, able to link to social movements that claim a transformation of the social order aiming to a greater social and environmental justice and willing to understand and discuss the problems.

The discussions must be centered on the importance of free public education. Education must not be reduced to indicators and learning of reading and writing, mathematics and employability. We must keep on contributing with popular education approaches because of its potential transformation of social subjects and organized groups.

Presentation of experiences from the EWG and from the public that participated
Albert Sansano presented the experience of new diverse social movements in Spain and Sebastián Vielmas  form the Student Federation of Chile Catholic University spoke about the “Recent experiences of Latin American student movements: Chile, Colombia, Puerto Rico.

The Platforms for Public Education from País Valenciano represent the new ways of organization for public education developed in the European countries in crisis said Albert Sansano.  The experiences of País Valenciano and Madrid are articulated because of the long presence of the conservative party (Partido Popular) in both regions. Sansano stressed the fact that the Platforms for the public education have developed from more than a decade ago. They are structures based on consensus and assembly’s decisions. They have incorporated other organizations as the neighborhood movement, the unified movement of family and teachers, Escola Valenciana, the parents associations from public schools (AMPAs), the movements of pedagogic renovation (MRPs), and the unified teachers’ movement for discussion and building of a Popular Public School.  In País Valenciano, the Platform coordinates with other platforms that try to encourage mobilization in other sectors in crisis (Health, Civil Servants, etc.), but upkiping it is getting difficult because of the crisis. In Madrid, the Platform basically plays a role of labor union coordination and coexists along with teachers and students assembly movements.
“Recent Experiences of Latin American Student Movements: Chile, Colombia, Puerto Rico”. These movements have in common  the problems related to privatization, inequality, segregation, and, especially in Chile, the profit around education. Coinciding with what Bélanger had explained, these movements emerge facing the global crisis that needs a global response. For the youth movements in these countries the right to education entails freedom of expression, access to information and democratic participation.

In Colombia (2011; 2012) the right wing governments have tried to privatized education and they have found massive student mobilization against profit. As well as in other countries of the region, the labor union and other CSO supported the initiatives. The consequence was the government had to take the project back and start the dialogue with students. In Puerto Rico (2010-2011) the teachers and students movement organized great mobilizations facing the attempt of the government of reducing the public expenditure on education. In Chile (2011), the student and teachers movement along with the unions got to the streets in massive demonstrations against the education reforms, privatizations and profit in all the education system. Their proposal was for a quality public education and a reform with a vision for change where students and teachers are represented.

Mobilization for the right to education in these and other countries is a reaction to the global crisis.  This must lead to an education paradigm change with a liberating conception nourished by multiple experiences, to build a better world, create other citizenship that represents the interests and needs of people.

Contributions from the public that participated in the workshop.

A) About neoliberal policies that are present in education, aggressive privatization processes and mercantilization of education.

B) The presence of citizen movements who express themselves in different ways and have a relevant impact on the policy making in various countries and regions: because of the  claiming for human rights and democratization; anger about unemployment and exclusion from basic social services of relevant groups of population; , disappointment about the democratic systems in place;  the student mobilization for universal free public education or the fights of ecologist organizations against States and big corporations.  The global citizen movement faces challenges in the long and the short term and with a vast ethical and political scope.

C) In various interventions it was stressed that Education We Want entails social redistribution of knowledge and power (including gender, race, ethnicity, age and sexual orientation). This stimulates of new social movements.  Autonomy, solidarity and diversity

D) Some of the interventions pointed out the importance of   Popular Education, to promote a critical transformation of education that respects human rights and the rights of the life of the community life to which the human being belongs. It also promotes especially the right to citizen participation in the decision making processes.

E) Social movements are claiming for a deeper change aimed at building a just and fair society able to coexist with life in the planet. They must express themselves in a categorical way in the current context bringing, among others, the message of affirmation and fulfillment of the right to education, and also de widest nucleus of rights. This is a condition to build a world in which life is valuable and possible and can be dignify..

F) The participation of the Tunisian education community was especially interesting. They shared their fight for a better education system and to improve the status of Tunisian teachers. They are fighting for quality public education for everyone, as this is the only guarantee for a democratic development in Tunisia nowadays.

G) There was a very interesting remark in the sense we must be very careful in our discussion: the language used by Latin Americans (Neo liberalism, World Bank…) is not heard in the Arab region. In the Arab region we talk about freedom, dignity, democracy, etc., fight for civil rights.

H) In almost every country that was represented the explanations indicated that there is still a lot to be changed and to be built to get the Education We Want not only concerning what is offered to students but also what concerns teachers’ conditions.

I) This is a space of active listening and thinking for everyone that understands that democracy and freedom could only be built if education goes beyond mere learning for a specific goal.

Find bellow the list of the organizations that made their registration in the workshop. The number of people that participated in this activity was 50 people from different regions and organizations:

AEFJN (Africa Europe Faith Justice Network) – Belgium, Occupy Wall Street, Nirantar – India, FST, EA-Canarias, Youth and Science Association of Tunisia-Tunisia, RECIT (Reseau des Estes de Citoyens)-France, FNEEQ/CSN-Canada, Estudiants & Developpement-France, Association Tunisien de didactique des sciences de la vie et de la terre ATDSVT-Tunisia, CERSS et du FCDM-Morocco, UGTT de la Tunisie-Tunisia, AFARD-Senegal, FNPE  Federation de la protection del enviroment)- Algeria, Association marrocaine de l´education  comparée-Morocco, Association marocaine déconomie sociale et solidarie-Morocco, Rete della Conoscenza-Italy, COBAS-Italy, LIEN  Education Nowelle Internationale-Switzerland, dvv international-Germany, IG Metall,CONSEJO DE EDUCACIÓN DE ADULTOS DE AMÉRICA LATINA (CEAAL)-Peru, Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLASCO)-Brazil, Red de Educación Popular Entre Mujeres (REPEM)-Colombia, Açao Educativa-Brazil, Campaña Latinoamericana por el Derecho a la Educación (CLADE) -Latin America, Foro Social de Educación (FME), International, Segunda Jornada Internacional de Educación Ambiental-Brazil, Consejo Internacional de Educación para las Personas Adultas (ICAE)-International, CEAG – Centro de Educação Ambiental de Guarulhos-Brazil,…

Evaluation of the WGE on the 2013 World Social Forum


    See the all document here:



  • WG on Education towards the 2013 World Social ForumBy Filomena SiqueiraEspañolPortuguesOn 31 January and 1 February the Working Group on Education[1] met in São Paulo to plan their actions throughout 2013 and organize possible self-organized activities at the 13th edition of the World Social Forum to be held in Tunis (Tunisia) between 26 and 30 March.The WG on Education aims at defending education as a human right capable of developing the human personality, the ability to think critically, the democratization of societies to form active citizens, able to act and claim social, political, economic and environmental changes. During the meeting in São Paulo the WG set the positions and actions with a view to discussing the agenda of education at different levels, including the supranational sphere, in spaces such as the United Nations and other international agencies.The current notion of development is guided by a financial and technicist logic that ends up permeating all spheres of life, creating a direct impact in the field of education and its guarantee as an inalienable human right. There is a strong trend to commercialize and reduce education to the market agenda and its structure created to generate profits as its central objective, if not unique. By conceptualizing education as a service, not as a duty of the State and the citizens’ right, we legitimize the adoption of market rules as guidelines for its existence and we take off its character of human right. Accordingly, the four pillars of education – availability (free public education), accessibility (ensuring access to public education), acceptability (quality of education) and adaptability (respect for the differences) – which resulted from strong struggles promoted by the civil society to conquer them, lose their value.In this sense, the WG agreed on the importance of participating in the 2013 World Social Forum, for being an alternative space of struggle and critical to expanding and strengthening an agenda that opposes the single thinking of the market. The WG intends to perform two self-organized activities in the Forum, one to share and expand the conceptual debate proposed about the document released by the Group in Rio +20, “The education we need for the future we want”[1], and another one to propose practices capable of making the reflections presented in the document real, to discuss how the conceptual and paradigmatic frameworks can turn into public policy and not just remain in the realm of ideas.In the specific agenda of global goals (Millennium Development Goals and Education for All), the WG intends to act on the debate on the previous and post-2015 agenda, seeking to form a counterpoint in international spaces which have been co-opted by the technicist logic of education as a tool for hand labor and consumers’ training, minimizing the potential of citizens’ training capable of acting on the space where they live and transform it. The Group believes and advocates that the international community should strive to develop a post-2015 agenda for education not limited to standardized tests and evaluation mechanisms and indicators that do not cooperate for a purposeful diagnosis, apart from not reflecting the multiplicity present in the learning process.The actions of the WG are therefore addressed to prevent that the sense and the agenda of education be restricted to the generation of profits and the adaptability to standardized tests, but rather to contribute to the comprehensive development of human beings, based on social and environmental justice. Through the activities proposed for the 2013 World Social Forum and the materials produced, the WG aims at provoking thinking and discussions, enlarging alternative views and collaborating to make the world a place worth living for everyone.____________
    [1] The WG of Education is made up of the International Council for Adult Education (ICAE), the World Education Forum (WEF), the Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education (CLADE), the Popular Education Network for Women in Latin America and the Caribbean (REPEM), the Council of Adult Education in Latin America (CEAAL), the Second International Meeting on Environmental Education for Sustainable Societies and Global Responsibility, the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO).  [2] Available at:
  • Artigo: Sociedade civil se mobiliza em torno da renovação dos Objetivos de Desenvolvimento do Milênio20.12.12Prazo para o cumprimento de metas estabelecidas no âmbito das Nações Unidas se encerra em 2015; nenhuma meta foi plenamente atingidaPor Filomena Siqueira*O ano de 2015 se aproxima e traz consigo o vencimento do prazo estabelecido para o alcance dos Objetivos de Desenvolvimento do Milênio (ODM). Os Objetivos são resultado de um compromisso internacional estabelecido a partir da Declaração do Milênio, acordada no âmbito das Nações Unidas no ano 2000, que tem como meta a redução da pobreza e melhoria da condição de vida das populações em países em desenvolvimento. Várias discussões têm surgido no sentido de avaliar e questionar o sentido e eficácia das metas globais, trazendo para o debate internacional a reflexão sobre como se dará a continuidade desse acordo.Diversas posições permeiam o debate sobre o sentido das metas globais. Alguns defendem a existência dos ODM e acreditam que eles podem ser um modelo positivo para a transformação das condições humanas por seu potencial global de ação; outros, embora não acreditem que os ODM possam ser um modelo para ação por seu caráter normativo, defendem que são essenciais para estender e mobilizar acordos políticos ambiciosos, que podem pressionar ou causar certo constrangimento aos países que não apresentarem avanços nas metas, além de oferecer bases claras para sociedade civil monitorar e pressionar seus governos.Alguns críticos, por sua vez, veem os ODM como bem intencionados, mas mal concebidos por desviar atenção de metas mais apropriadas e de ações e políticas mais efetivas, já que os Objetivos não são compulsórios. Há também aqueles que se contrapõem aos ODM por focarem sua análise no resultado das metas e não em seus processos de desenvolvimento e realidades de cada país. Tendo em vista que nenhuma meta foi plenamente atingida até agora, acabam não considerando tais objetivos efetivos. Outros defendem que, na verdade, eles acabam atrapalhando e maquiando as questões realmente importantes, não mudando as causas reais do crescimento da desigualdade e da pobreza no mundo.Apesar de opiniões tão divergentes sobre os ODM, há um consenso de que a erradicação da pobreza em suas diversas dimensões é um imperativo global e, nesse sentido, os Objetivos colaboram para unificar esse desafio e mantê-lo como questão central na agenda global. A despeito das limitações que as metas globais possuem, observa-se, de maneira geral, um movimento em prol de sua renovação havendo, entretanto, a necessidade de algumas alterações.Dentre os pontos a serem modificados estão: a) uma nova estrutura, com ampliação de metas, tendo em vista a relevância de novos temas como aquecimento global, saúde pública, imigração, paz e segurança internacional, dentre outros; b) a forma de avaliar e entender os avanços das metas, tendo em vista que as condições de cada país são diferentes; c) ampliar a participação no processo de renovação das metas, uma vez que há muitas críticas sobre a maneira como os objetivos foram fixados anteriormente, com influência majoritária dos governos e pouca incidência da sociedade civil; d) o novo horizonte temporal, pois há divergências sobre fixar o prazo em 2035 ou 2050, e incluir metas intermediárias.No campo específico da educação, 2015 também representa a data limite para o cumprimento das metas do acordo Educação Para Todos (EPT), compromisso firmado no âmbito da Unesco em 1990 e renovado em 2000. Esse acordo compreende uma ampla agenda para a educação básica, que inclui o cuidado e educação na primeira infância, alfabetização e aprendizagem de adultos, o princípio da educação gratuita, obrigatória e universal, além da necessidade de superar desigualdades de gênero e garantir qualidade na educação.Essa agenda colabora para que organizações de diferentes setores e redes da sociedade civil em diferentes países se articulem e pressionem seus governos para o cumprimento das metas.Para ampliar a consulta pública sobre a renovação dos ODM e do EPT diversas campanhas organizadas por grupos da sociedade civil têm surgido, assim como parcerias entre a ONU e esses atores. Dentre essas iniciativas estão: a campanha Beyond 2015 (Depois de 2015), The World We Want 2015 (O Mundo que Queremos 2015), Post 2015 (Pós-2015), Campanha Mundial pela Educação, além de diversos outros blogs que tem acompanhado e promovido o debate como o Education Post 2015 (Educação Pós-2015)  organizado pelo Conselho Internacional de Educação de Adultos (ICAE), rede global da qual a Ação Educativa é membro.Esses espaços virtuais, além de ampliar o debate, colaboram para fortalecer a incidência da sociedade civil e a pressão sobre os governos para que suas demandas sejam incluídas no novo acordo global. Como sabemos, a sociedade civil desempenha um papel chave na exigibilidade dos direitos humanos e a atuação em rede, fortalecida pela cooperação, pesquisa e debates internacionais, é fundamental para o progresso e cumprimento das agendas acordadas pelos Estados.

    O debate em relação às metas globais é estratégico neste momento de múltiplas crises internacionais (econômica, ambiental e social), que podem resultar numa regressão dos direitos humanos. A mobilização é fundamental para garantir que não haja retrocessos nos direitos conquistados e que, tão pouco, a agenda seja abandonada por um enfoque apenas na crise financeira.

    O desenho da nova agenda global na luta pela erradicação da pobreza em suas diferentes formas, incluindo o acesso universal à educação gratuita e de qualidade, precisa ser discutida e firmada a partir de ampla consulta, diálogo e participação da sociedade civil. Os vários fóruns de discussão que têm surgido colaboram para o enriquecimento e democratização dos processos e tomada de decisões oficiais, uma vez que as metas globais caracterizam um desafio que não se limita exclusivamente aos chefes de Governo, mas sim a um conjunto de atores que envolvem essencialmente a sociedade civil e suas várias lutas para a efetivação dos direitos humanos e, consequentemente, de uma sociedade mais justa tanto social quanto ambientalmente.

    * Filomena Siqueira é assessora da área Internacional da Ação Educativa



  • Lessons from the work of civil society in RIO + 20 and learning for post-2015

On the process of the Education WG and the strategies to keep working

Español  Français

Albert Sansano
WG Education / Education World Forum

1.    The process of the Working Group on Education

We have taken a big leap since the last quarter of 2011 when we decided to move forward with the GT on Education. This group, configured as a network of networks, and that started with the aim of preparing the debate that was to be organized in Porto Alegre on the occasion of the WSF and FME Capitalist Crisis, Social and Environmental Justice, not only managed to promote a genuine virtual debate, rich in documents and exchange of ideas, but was able to articulate and organize discussions within the FME and the WG itself in a coordinated and participatory way.

As mentioned in the self-assessment performed later (March 2012) we met the objectives in order that education had a strong presence in the Forum: the virtual debate was very intense not only for the nearly one thousand people enrolled, but for the participation in it. During the forum this had an impact: we were the most numerous WG and the knowledge about the debate we carried out was perceived, i.e., we showed that we had succeeded in developing a previous work, not only as WG, but each organization/network separately.

For all these reasons we decided to continue working as GT, incorporating the participation of Education International and REPEM, to establish regular meetings on Skype and resume webinar synthesis, WG discussions and proposals that had been made to rework the WG on education document with proposals for Rio +20.

We have recently made the assessment of this second process, the road to Rio +20 and during the UN Conference and the People’s Summit.

Some aspects of this evaluation are the following:

The work done was assessed as very positive by both its content and the issues that were brought up for discussion, as well as for having worked as a network of networks. The fact that it was conducted in a participatory manner was particularly emphasized and therefore, it had the richness of a diversity of views resulting from the different experiences of each component, but above all the synergy of interests of the organizations involved that made it possible to reach the final decisions and the outcome document as a product of the WGE.

It made it possible to develop a process of deepening of the discussion within civil society, in order to thematically feed the people’s summit, and also make a very interesting advocacy process with some of the governments attending the official Rio +20 conference.

With the WG discussion it fostered internal activities and discussions of the networks around the issue of Social and Environmental Justice, so as to yield a very rich two-way process, from the networks to the WG and from the WG discussion to the components and activities of the networks in Rio +20.

It took a leap forward with the development and dissemination of the documents of “The education we want” and the declaration of the Caucus. The development of this latter allowed the incorporation of new actors.
It allowed the education movement as such to take a step in strengthening its position in conferences such as Rio +20, since it was still a bit behind regarding other movements (e.g. women.).

Regarding the document “The education we want” it is stated that it is an example of the articulation of the group and its ability to gather energy to produce and share knowledge. The document, by promoting an analysis of the international situation and discussing their impact on education under an integrated logic -not separating the global dimension of educational challenges and issues- becomes an important material for reflection and for taking collective position on educational problems.

See the complete document here


The education we need for the world we want


1. The current situation: complexity of crises, diversity of individuals and challenges of a strategic agenda
2. The education we want and the complexity of the present time
3. Facing Rio + 20

See here



GT Educación

La educación que precisamos para el mundo que queremos


1. La coyuntura actual: complejidad de crisis, diversidad de sujetos y los desafíos de una agenda estratégica
2. La educación que queremos y la complejidad del presente
3. Frente a Río+20

Ver documento aquí


El Grupo de Trabajo de Educación está formado por: el Consejo Internacional de Educación de Personas Adultas (ICAE), el Foro Mundial de Educación (FME), la Campaña Latinoamericana por el Derecho a la Educación (CLADE), el Consejo de Educación de Adultos de América Latina (CEAAL) , la Jornada de Educación Ambiental para Sociedades Sustentables y Responsabilidad Global, la Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO, Brasil), la Internacional de la Educación (EI), la Red de Educación Popular entre Mujeres de América Latina y el Caribe (REPEM).


Grupo de Trabajo de Educación
Foro Social Temático: Crisis Capitalista Justicia Social y Ambiental
24 de noviembre al 8 de diciembre de 2011

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