Some days ago, NeRaK wrote an interesting comment about one of my previous posts. She ended up her comment wondering if a revolution in Mexico is going to take place as some proclaim today. I answered that a revolution, in terms of "violent popular movement", was not just a remote possibility but undesired at any rate. We do need a change, a significant change, but as somebody recently stated: Mexico today is a sort of a situation where you have a guy who drove the bus into the ditch. We obviously have to get the bus out of the ditch and that is not easy to do… although we should probably fire the driver.
As I have said before, I think that right now one of the most important things we should be working on is education.
In Mexico, according to official data, 8% out of the population are illiterate and 40% has only elementary level of education. What we are saying here is that nearly half of the Mexican population have 6 years of instruction or less, or nothing at all.
However, the main problem is not education coverage. It is a lack of clarity with regards to education as a whole. I think we have left unaddressed the ultimate questions of education, as if it were not necessary to reflect on them in every epoch, namely: What is education all about? What do we educate for? And above all, what is the best possible education today?
Behind each general education system there’s always both an ideal of citizenship in accordance with the nation´s program and a philosophical conception that gives the whole system coherency, meaning and certainty.
In México, during 300 years of The Colonial Period, the Roman Catholic Church kept their dominance over education. In 1867, President Juarez established the “Reform Laws” and with these, state control over education and a new theoretical orientation: Positivism. After the Revolution of 1910 and with the creation of the new institutions, there were long ideological debates on education (its function, objectives and, above all its future) among those who hold liberal, socialist and conservative positions. This discussion was held at a very important moment in our history: today, we need this kind of debate; and we need to initiate it in a form of a national dialogue.
In terms of subject contents, we have to consider the reconstitution of sciences (Gulbelkian Commission). As for the didactic resources, it would be important to take into account concepts from other experiences such as "Accelerated learning", "Lifelong learning", "Evaluation vs. Assessment", etc. But the most important thing is to define the horizon: what kind of citizen do we need?
A suspicious person might argue that before that we would need to define what kind of country we want. And I would say: my friend, you might have a point!!