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"Radical Educators Study Group & Skill-Share" blog

Zapatista Autonomous Education : The Assault on Autonomous Education in Southeast Mexico

This looks like a great article on the current state of Zapatista Autonmous Education in Chiapas, Mexico.  It's available as a pdf here:  http://upsidedownworld.org/main/mexico-archives-79/3305-the-assault-on-autonomous-education-in-southeast-mexico

Here's an excerpt:

"

Zapatista Autonomous Education

Before the Zapatistas set up their own education system, many communities had no schools at all. Others had poorly-funded, and run, government schools, many of which had teachers irregularly, if at all. Often, lessons were not taught in the communities’ indigenous languages, nor were they based on the local customs and traditions. The children had to wear uniform.[1] So, “we decided to set up our own autonomous schools”.

"The difference between the government schools and the autonomous schools is that in our schools we are working for our brothers and sisters. The government imposes education designed for the rich, it imposes its own ideas. It imposes another language. We develop our own language, our own culture." In their own schools they can learn their own history, how to care for their land, in their own way and according to their own needs.

Education in these schools is free and is open to all ages and all people, regardless of whether they are Zapatistas. There is no competition; learning is a shared experience. The schools are staffed by education promoters, based on the belief that education is a collective experience. "The education promoters work voluntarily. They are not working for a wage or for personal interest, they are acting on their conscience, teaching for the sake of the community." Usually, the community provides food and shelter for the promoter. "Here we share learning and learn from each other, it's not like the promoters know everything. Even the youngest child can contribute."

Education is based on the needs of the community, and hours are agreed accordingly. Pupils are educated to take up positions of responsibility and to work for the good of the community. “We want our children to learn about freedom and dignity and to value all human beings.” Agro-ecology is an important part of the school program: how to work the land and to care for the earth, how to save seeds, how to use and prepare natural remedies, the importance of conserving water sources and forests, the need to work together to build and strengthen the community and the resistance. Both the indigenous languages and Spanish are used. It is forbidden to hit, punish or disrespect the children.

All this is undertaken despite seemingly overwhelming odds: grinding poverty, no resources or equipment, and increasingly, direct attacks conducted with total impunity aimed at breaking the will to resist and thereby destroy the entire movement."

Comments

AileenHue's picture

I feel everyone has a right to education.So this is really great if the poor students are getting equal right to get educated.This will prove really beneficial for them.

Get more details about this from his website.

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