Education for Rural People in the Caribbean: From Elitism to Equality

Article excerpt

INTERNATIONAL ATTENTION TURNED TOWARDS the Caribbean region on the eve of a regional conference on education for rural people, which took place in Saint Lucia on 18 and 19 May 2006. Participants discussed a wide range of issues, including food, nutrition, HIV/AIDS and gender.

Representatives of ministries of agriculture, education and health, as well as international agencies, non-governmental organizations and the private sector, attended the conference, which is part of a global partnership launched at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to eradicate poverty and hunger. A similar meeting for the African region took place in 2005 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

"Education is essential for the rural poor, many of whom are women. It is also essential for rural children who lose their parents to AIDS. Field schools need to be developed to provide essential skills and knowledge to orphaned children. Educating the rural poor contributes to preventing the pandemic from expanding rapidly in rural areas", says Marcela Villarreal, head of the FAO Gender and Population Division. Worldwide, 100 million children are still being denied the opportunity to go to school and without urgent action they will remain in poverty and at far greater risk of HIV/AIDS infection, according to education experts.

"In the Caribbean region, the impact of poverty, HIV/AIDS and educational deficits is acutely felt in the rural context", according to FAO. …

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