With the commitment of encouraging the development of Digital Education in the area, the executive secretary for the Inter-American Telecommunications Commission CITEL, Oscar León, and Kim Osborne, the executive secretary for Integral Development of the Organization of American States OAS, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Sofía Fernández de Mesa, the director of ProFuturo, to establish a framework for the ProFuturo program implementation in Latin America and the Caribbean, with the purpose of improving the educative quality through digital education.
This new agreement for the expansion of ProFuturo is in line with the commitments and the objectives planned during the 2030 ICT Alliance for the Americas, promoted by CITEL and signed in June 2016 by the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro; César Alierta, President of Fundación Telefónica and the main ICT companies of Latin America. This alliance aims to meet the objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the UN, reducing poverty through the integration of ICT to the national policies of the member states of the OAS.
Towards Implementation of the Inter-American Education Agenda
The director of ProFuturo, Sofía Fernández de Mesa, participated in the Seventh Plenary Session of the IX Inter-American Meeting of Ministers of Education of the OAS titled “Towards Implementation of the Inter-American Education Agenda – Building Alliances, Education and Information and Communication Technologies,” where she talked about the importance of digital education to meet the objectives of the Inter-American Education Agenda, as well as the potential of digitalization for the general development of countries and their societies, in terms of innovation, productivity, efficiency and competitiveness, with positive consequences for their economic growth.
Fernández de Mesa also stated that the implementation of ICT in education allows for expanding the coverage of an education of a greater quality for everybody at a lower cost, stressing that a true democratization of the access to knowledge can be achieved through digital education, guaranteeing equal opportunities for everybody.
In addition, during her intervention, the director of ProFuturo talked about the goal of expanding the geographical scope of the program, bringing it to the Latin American countries where Telefónica operates, and made a formal call to the Caribbean governments asking for their support in the implementation of the program in their countries. These actions for the expansion of ProFuturo are supported by the OAS and are defined on the Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed during the meeting.
De izquierda a derecha: Jerome Fitzgerald, Ministro de Educación Ciencia y Tecnología de las Bahamas y Presidente de la Comisión Interamericana de Educación (CIE),
Oscar León, Secretario Ejecutivo de CITEL, Kim Osborne, Secretaria Ejecutiva para el Desarrollo Integral de la OEA y Sofía Fernández de Mesa, Directora General de Profuturo.
Commitments to the 2030 ICT Alliance for the Americas
The commitments of Telefónica to the 2030 ICT Alliance for the Americas aim to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) #3 and #4 and are organized, apart from ProFuturo, around 3 open and free training platforms developed by Telefónica Educación Digital:
1. ScolarTIC :a learning social space of innovation and educational quality that offers free online courses and classroom resources as well as talks, presentations and workshops aimed at teachers and future teachers. At present, more than 220,000 teachers participate on this platform.
2. STEMByME :a learning and entertainment space for young Ibero-American people that aims to awaken their interest in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) for the purpose of providing them with new experiences for the acquisition of knowledge. At present, more than 120,000 young people participate, learn and carry out challenges on this platform.
3. MiríadaX: the first Ibero-American MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) platform that focuses on encouraging knowledge in higher education. MiríadaX has 3 million users, more than 500 courses and a network formed by more than 100 universities and institutions with 1,900 teachers, with the goal of supporting the dissemination of free and collaborative knowledge between the students and the experts.
The activities that are currently taking place on these platforms to meet the commitments to the 2030 ICT Alliance for the Americas are as follows:
Launch of the competition “STEM4GoodAmericas” associated with STEMbyME and Scolartic for the creation of mobile applications by young entrepreneurs from 14 to 18 years old. This competition aims to improve the quality of education and develop ICT talent in the new digital economy. Teachers and students can now participate and register on: https://www.stembyme.com/stem4good-registrate
Training of teachers from the Inter-American Teacher Education Network (ITEN) through ScolarTIC, with activities that promote educational innovation in the classroom and through technical cooperation with the Ministers of Education from the Americas. Therefore, all teachers that are trained on Scolartic will obtain a certificate of completion accredited by the OAS.
Development of MOOCs on MiríadaX, aimed to promote Digital Education and key contents for the development of democratic values. The OAS will have their own space within MiríadaX with online courses (MOOCs) with key contents about democratic values.