Alternative Education Can Eliminate Corruption

Interview with Myriam Anzola published on ZNet (first on venezuelanalysis), by  Tamara Pearson, August 18, 2013.

Participatory education based on empowering students through their active involvement in their community is an essential tool for fighting corruption in the long term, according to Myriam Anzola. Anzola was head of the Merida Politechnical University Kleber Ramirez (UPTM) and is currently the coordinator of the open studies program at the university. She researches social-linguistics, scholastic exclusion, poverty culture, and the integration of people with disabilities. She is also a doctor of education and has a masters in linguistics. Tamara Pearson of Venezuelanalysis.com interviewed Anzola yesterday. Pearson is one of the recent graduates in the alternative pedagogy program and a teacher at the Alternative School of Pueblo Nuevo.  

VA: What are the alternative schools and how are they different to traditional ones?

  • MA: I would say that the alternative schools are informal educative spaces that are guided by the national Bolivarian curriculum, but apply it with a more open and flexible methodology, without prerequisites or ranking students, and allowing them to advance at their own speed.

VA: In July, the first alternative pedagogy teachers in the country graduated. For those who don’t know, what is alternative pedagogy, how is the course structured, and what is its objective?

  • MA: Alternative pedagogy is centred on the empowering of students within their socio-cultural context. It allows them to develop their individual talents within a shared project that has a theme that interests all the participants and which responds to the idiosyncrasy of the locality.

VA: What has your experience been of the alternative schools that already exist? … //

… VA: Is the campaign that the government is waging at the moment against corruption effective? Why or why not?

  • MA: Somewhat, because it gets rid of impunity. But in the long term, something more than punishment is needed. A process of humanist education is required which promotes new values from an early age.

VA: Isn’t it necessary to combine alternative education with other means, such as grassroots power, the communal councils, the workers’ councils, alternative and community media, in order to eliminate corruption?

  • MA: Yes, of course. Alternative education only makes sense when it’s part of community reality. Communities should participate as a fundamental aspect of the education process, and every state institution should have a project of permanent education in order to promote values such as solidarity, cooperation, respect for differences and tolerance, which are values and principles that aren’t stimulated in traditional workplaces, places which in reality function just like schools.

VA: How can we eventually have a national system of alternative education in place, and what obstacles are we going to face along the way?

  • MA: Well, I think education should be just one thing, it doesn’t need last names. If traditional education were to prioritise student learning within a framework of freedom and respect for the capacity of each person, alternative education wouldn’t be necessary. But there are too many factors that go against a model of education that is different to the established one; the training of teachers in the traditional universities which promotes competition and personal success based on a misunderstood meritocracy, the administrative system of primary education which is bureaucratised and sectioned into grades which sometimes don’t respond to the cognitive capacities of the children, a pre-established and dogmatised curriculum, and lastly, families which hope to see their children do better than their companions, without worrying what they learn.
  • Educational change requires a collective consciousness regarding the importance of learning in a meaningful way in order to: reflect on reality, seek answers, and construct concepts within the logic of solidarity. Also, in order to resolve the inescapable objectives of the human species: to save the planet, to create a peaceful culture, seek solutions to the social problems in the cities and rural areas, food productivity, and technological development according to the needs of the times, without attacking the dignity of the peoples.

(full text).

Links:

Haiti Reconstruction: Luxury Hotels, Sweat Shops and Deregulation for the Foreign Corporate Elite, on Global Research.ca, by Julie Levesque, August 16, 2013;

on Haiti Libre, the haitian people’s voice:

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