CERI - Schooling for Tomorrow: Joint OECD/Mexico International Conference “Emerging Models for Learning and Innovation” (Yucatan, Mexico 14-16 June 2006)


The International Conference on Emerging Models of Learning and Innovation (EMLI) took place from 14-16 June 2006 in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. This conference was the culmination of intensive reflection and field work on the EMLI project over the past year with Mexico in the lead role as part of CERI’s “Schooling for Tomorrow” programme. The theme of the project has been on inspiring models of learning and innovation for the future, with the initial focus on innovation for disadvantaged groups. The conference aimed to:

  • Present the main conclusions of the study, including: the learning dimensions explored in the research for the emerging models, the identified models and their characteristics, as well as, the analytical framework developed on the basis of the case studies.
  • Clarify the avenues and the potential areas of international interest for exploring models of learning and innovation, using both the Mexican and broader international experience.
  • Analyse the achievements of particular initiatives in Mexico that “break the mould” aimed at vulnerable population groups, and identify their broader implications for the education system.
  • Contribute to setting directions for the new OECD/CERI project on ‘New Millennium Learners’.
  • Discuss the recent outcomes and publications from both the OECD Schooling for Tomorrow project and its Programme on Educational Building. 

A total of 13 countries (among them 9 OECD members and 4 Latin-American), 3 international organisations (UNESCO, UNICEF, Inter-American Development Bank) and several international and national NGOs, international and Mexican academic and research institutions and universities were represented. In addition, different Mexican education bodies, from the Federal Government and from 12 other regional governments (estados) participated. The final number of participants was nearly 200.

The conference was divided into three parts:

  1. The first part aimed at broadening the discussion on the need to extend the traditional boundaries of schooling and the challenges this poses for reform. Tom Bentley, from Demos (UK), contributed to this debate with a keynote speech on emerging trends in contemporary societies and economies, the future of learning, and the challenges these issues pose for policy.
  2. In the second component of the agenda, the approach, findings and conclusions of the international study on EMLI were introduced. Through four workshops the analysis was broadened by bringing in other perspectives, experiences and expertise and defining some concrete directions for change. The visit to some learning centres in Yucatan closed this part of the programme.
  3. The last part included the presentation and discussion around four main OECD Education Directorate projects that have innovation and learning at the heart of their analysis a) the Learning and Neurosciences Research Project; b) the New Millennium Learners Project; c) the Spanish Speaking Seminars and d) the Programme on Educational Building (PEB).

The conference, was jointly organised by the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) at OECD and the Ministry of Education (SEP), Mexico. We worked closely with Yucatan partners - the regional Ministry of Education, the Autonomous University of the Yucatan, and CICY (Yucatan Centre for Scientific Research) – and the OECD Programme on Educational Building (PEB).