Representatives from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization are visiting Puerto Rico this week to provide technical assistance to help island officials produce statistics on education funding and expenses that are standardized and comparable with those of other countries and jurisdictions.
So said Mario Marazzi-Santiago, executive director of the Puerto Rico Statistics Institute, which is heading the government’s efforts and participating in daily meetings through Friday.
“We welcome these colleagues from UNESCO and appreciate their valuable time and dedication to this great government effort that will allow us to have a vital and reliable tool to establish public policy on education funding, and will also allow us to compare Puerto Rico with other countries in this important sector,” said Marazzi-Santiago during a Monday morning news conference at the State Department.
This is the second time that Puerto Rico is visited and receives technical assistance from UNESCO on the topic of education. The first visit took place in 2010 to lay the foundation and to develop basic education statistics, such as school enrollment and post-secondary attendance.
The results of that initial work is available through the UNESCO website, which for the first time has included statistics related to Puerto Rico’s education system with a methodology that allows comparison with other countries, he said.
“We initially decided to postpone statistics on funding and educational expenses for a future visit, as the methodology for generating them is significantly more complex,” Marazzi-Santiago said.
“However, we can no longer wait. If Puerto Rico goes on any longer without statistics to compare how the it invests in education vis-a-vis other countries, we would be taking a bling journey into the planning of our education system,” he said, noting that the goal is to make sure the island’s statistic base is complete.
“This includes databases from the United Nations and its associated agencies, such as UNESCO,” he added.
Education Secretary Rafael Román said the agency’s participation in this effort is “vitally important because it supports our goal of having the most complete and reliable statistics that allow us to conduct effective planning.”