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By Rubén Eduardo Mendoza García *
The foregoing may be locating us in that the current educational model in our countries is not really exhausted, on the contrary, every time the policies are reformed or reformulated within our countries to "strengthen the educational system", it is regenerated and makes it much more functional to sustain the wealth accumulation model; In other words, from the point of view of the economic elites in our region, the model serves them, it also allows them to maintain their ideological dominance in the minds of the vast majority of the population, who, although they know they have inalienable rights and fight for them, the economic model does not change, so the conditions of exclusion, poverty and marginalization that are the food that sustain the dominant economic model will not radically change. But let's see some figures that give us the idea of why I affirm that the system is functional to the economic elites. Data in Latin America tell us that the enrollment rate for primary-age children is around 95%, while for secondary school, the result is 73%. If we look at the years of schooling achieved, we see that for Argentina they are at 10.5, and Panama the Central American benchmark 9.2. By crossing these data with those related to employment –according to the IDB sociometer, currently 54% of the population has informal jobs, compared to 30% in the early 1980s - we can confirm that there are changes in the world of work which is the one that produces wealth for the economic elites and it can also be said that the educational system only prepares the majority to have some degree of information and training that allows them to be part of that reserve army that remains in informality, waiting for an "opportunity" to go up to formality, which only occurs when the families of the "elites", owners of large companies and means of production, withdraw or fire those hired to avoid paying benefits and seek to renew formal jobs. This is a functional and perverse cycle that allows business owners to keep wages to a minimum. Let's look at the case of Guatemala: a study by the European Union and the Ministry of Education points out: “That 73% of young people work without a contract, work more than 48 hours a week and 40% earn less than a dollar a day, while the 62% earn less than the minimum wage ”. But how do we allow it? Or how is this exclusive and unequal system maintained? According to one of the results obtained in 2011 in rural areas of Guatemala, by the IEH
, "the type of education and the ways in which it is being implemented in the diversified institutions, is producing a student subject that will become a useful workforce within the current economic scheme in the country ...". In other words, although low levels of education are directly linked to the lack of access to formal employment, poverty and social problems, we can also observe that the economic elites applaud and support this situation, since they (the elites) They do very well in their perspective of accumulation of wealth and domination of the majority of the population that is quite convinced that this is the only way to live and produce or is afraid of rising up to the system, since also the dominance of the elites it is not only ideological but also repressive.
This way of seeing and living in the world that is promoted by the elites in the States and Nations, and that is accepted by the peoples, leads us to other great problems due to the irrational depredation and destruction of the natural environment, which puts even their own at risk. survival of the human species, so it is necessary to seek solutions to global problems that are also local, through an education that removes this model of life in the minds of the peoples, and allows the creation of new economic, social, cultural and environmental. Is popular education an alternative? Popular education (PE) can become an alternative; For this, it is necessary for popular educators to be able to fully commit ourselves to generating a pedagogical and political commitment in dialogue with the peoples that allows the current educational model to be deconstructed and that enables students to generate critical thinking, to read and reinvent the world, as Paulo Freire says. This task can not only be seen as an action in the peripheries of the learning processes, that is, not only educational processes can be generated from PE, outside the “formal” system; It is also necessary and urgent to begin to crack the current learning model and replace it with another that allows the generation of knowledge, learning, ways of seeing the world different from the current ones and above all that gives greater elements of analysis, mobilization, organization and action to the peoples so that this can be the detonating force that gives the final blow to the current model and collectively builds another. Then, it is necessary to strengthen two major tasks: the first is to continue to weave much more networks and alliances between different and diverse social movements and that these, in turn, can deepen their knowledge and learning about the current world but above all in the theoretical, scientific, viable creation of that other possible world. That is to say, it is not enough to say it and dream it in general terms, it is necessary to identify it, trace it, discover it and concretize it in practice. This is what Popular Education is called with its different experiences in order to put them at the service of the construction and consolidation of another possible world. The second task is the necessary incursion into the current educational systems, which, as already said, configure functional learning for the economic elites and the dominant thought, so it is necessary to begin to crack the system also from within, because it is there where the new generations are conditioned to think, feel and act in the way that suits the elites. An important clarification is necessary here: doing work to crack the current educational system is not a strict call to become public officials of the ministries of education, but to generate alternative proposals, pedagogical accompaniment to teachers to provide them with other tools that allow the construction of critical thinking, to think from one's own Being, so that, from each space, popular educators can design their fissure strategy, according to their own contexts and readings of reality and the possibility of making this challenge effective. To conclude, these last two bets, from my perspective, lead to two other important elements: that of having the clarity that this work in both directions is necessary to dismantle the educational system and contribute to the construction of another possible world and that It must be done in an organized process, thought and created in a permanent dialogue with the various social movements that fight for human rights, the defense of territory and life in our current Latin America.
Latin America on the Move