Social Movements in the XXI Century and the Right to Education
Social movements in the XXIcentury and the right to education Sebastián Vielmas Secretary-General of the Students Federation of the Catholic University of Chile 2011
The age of crisis● Privatization● Inequality● SegregationIt is... an● Education crisis? Social crisis? Political crisis? Cultural crisis?● Planetary crisis → Global response
Right to education● Education is a human right, that goes through life. → Its not a problem for young people only.● Institutionalized education is not the only kind of education. → Freedom of speech, access to the information and a participatory democracy are part of the context in which the right to education can develop.
Social movements in Latin America● In the last years, in Latin America, in countries like Chile, Colombia and Puerto Rico for example, there have been broad movements for the right to education.
Colombia (2011-2012)● Right-wing government attempts to introduce for-profit universities and privatize public education.● Students response: mobilization and strikes.● Broad support from civil society and unions.● Government and Parliament has to retire the law project and opens dialogue with students.● Stronger students organization.
Puerto Rico (2010-2011)● Governor Fortuño budget cuts to public education and higher education, among other drastic reductions in public spending.● Teachers and employees of the University of Puerto Rico, part of the movement for the right to education.● Artists support: ¡Que vivan l@s estudiantes!● Creation of the National Student Assembly and ongoing fight.
Chile (2011- )● Students movement organized not to oppose a particular law or issue, but to propose a far- reaching educational reform.● Chiles educational system: the most privatized and segregated in the world.● Even if there is almost universal coverage in primary and secondary education, it is highly segregated.● Lots of for-profit institutions in all levels of education.● All universities charge tuition, even public
Key aspects of our struggles:● Building a social majority for change.● Overcoming the sectarism and sectorialization of struggles.● Changing the thinking of the mainstream society, not being a marginal subject.● Being positive.● Being ambitious.● Vision for a change in the long-term.
Key aspects of our struggles:● Breaking traditional divisions, like teacher/students, educational authorities/students leadership, old people/young people.● New and old ways to organize: a synthesis. "Not everything new is good, and not everything old is bad".
Key aspects of our struggles:● You shouldnt be waiting the powerful to propose something, to oppose it. You should propose an alternative first, and make the rules of the "game".● Example: Tax reform in Chile during 2011, even if we havent achieved what we wanted, we shaped the debate.● "Lucro", for-profit concept, something demonize even by the mainstream media.
Key aspects of our struggles:● Message has no owner: anyone who is identified with the movement can be part of it.● That bring new tensions and opportunities for the continuation of the struggle.● As the goal is a far-reaching change in society, the movement will live as long it hast to live to achieve its goals.
Conclusions● Global crisis → Global struggles● There are no magical solutions● The only thing we can do is work and mobilize