¡Paulo Freire Vive!
The Right to an Emancipatory Education, at Risk in Latin America and the Caribbean
Discussion and photographic exposition of Warisata: the experience of the indigenous “escuela núcleo” in Bolivia.
September 19, 2017
The Ayllu School of Warisata in Bolivia, despite its short operative life (1931-1940), has been one of the most significant educational experiences in Latin America and the Caribbean. Transmitting the principles of freedom, solidarity, and reciprocity, it reevaluated the Bolivian cultural identity and sustainable communal production in harmony with mother earth.
The experience and exhibition of Warisata en Imágenes discussed the current Latin American and Caribbean context and the challenging task of creating an emancipatory education. Moreover, the conversation was geared towards the philosophical motivations—and the ends—of education as a tool for personal growth and social progress.
As the speakers mentioned, discussing emancipatory education is becoming more necessary than ever, since the spaces to promote it are being closed by regional setbacks in free speech and democratic dialogue. Critical thinking is being constrained by standardized tests that homogenize the degree to which the students are able to creatively express their own ideas. Additionally, the rights of marginalized groups are being denied across the continent, with censorship becoming ubiquitous in countries like Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, and many others.
Warisata is an example of a bottom-up educational initiative executed in Bolivia that takes an indigenous-native-countryman perspective as the foundation of its program. The teaching and learning, as the participants expressed, is proposed following a socio-communal perspective. In other words, it follows the African philosophy of Ubuntu, which denotes the following premise: “I am because you are / the other [in the community] are because I am.” In summary, the sense of community becomes the guiding concept of education.
The event took place at CLACS and was moderated by CLACS faculty member, Pamela Calla. The discussion included the participation of several Latin American pedagogical experts and educational activists, all of whom are committed agents for a public, free, and secular education for everyone. Among the participants were:
- Camilla Croso (Brazil): coordinator for the Campaña Latinoamericana por el Derecho a la Educación (“Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education”) and the President of the Campaña Mundial por la Educación (“World Campaign for Education”). Croso spoke about Latin American reality
- David Aruquipa, Gilber Mamani, and Augusto Costas (Bolivia):
- Liliana DeGiorgis (Dominican Republic): member of the Foro Socioeducativo de Republica Dominicana (“The Socio-educational Forum of the Dominican Republic”).
The conversation was celebrated in the framework of Paulo Freire’s birthday, and contributed to the mobilizations convened to the date by the Rede Estrado from Brazil and the Latin American and Caribbean Education International.