Statement of Mexico City
The IX Assembly of the Latin American Campaign for the Right to Education (CLADE) was held in Mexico City from November 11 to 14, 2016 with the participation of around 80 people from CLADE member organizations, representatives from the students' movement and the academia from 16 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Mr. Roberto Aguilar, Minister of Education of the Plurinational State of Bolivia and Madame Boly Barry, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, also attended the assembly.
CLADE organized the IX Assembly and the International Seminar in Mexico, in tribute to the social struggles in the country and especially to pay homage to the 43 normal school students of Ayotzinapa who were victims of enforced disappearance in September 2014, and to many other persons, teachers, students, human rights defenders who have been and continue to be criminalized in their struggles for justice and dignity. For these reasons, we call for an "emancipating education that guarantees rights."
In a deeply regressive regional and global context, where we witness the most serious abuses in our democracies and human rights, particularly after the coup in Brazil and the rise of criminalization of students in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Assembly reaffirmed that:
1. The role of an emancipatory, liberating education that guarantees rights is more important than ever to strengthen critical thinking, providing the ability to challenge and reflect on the context, and guiding us towards the strengthening of our democracies and overcoming the deepening structural inequalities and discrimination that shape our societies.
2. An emancipatory education that guarantees rights implies a human rights-based orientation, to build peace, participatory, critical and active citizenship, with a view to a dignified life, acknowledging the uniqueness and diversity of peoples.
3. More than ever, it is necessary to promote a debate on the meaning and purpose of education. The political pedagogical project of our education systems needs to be discussed in depth, and define the ideal type of individual, community, country, region and world that they target.
In this context, CLADE expresses:
1. The urgency to consolidate State policies that guarantee the human rights of women, afro descendant and LGBTI populations, indigenous peoples and nations, people with disabilities, migrant populations, refugees, and asylum seekers, among other historically excluded and discriminated groups in Latin America and the Caribbean. In this sense, CLADE condemns all forms of racism, patriarchy, xenophobia and violence against the human rights of people. We note with concern the rise of conservative and fundamentalist positions that reinforce violence and incite hatred towards human dignity.
2. A profound rejection towards the disqualification of the gender perspective, based on a perverse attempt to instill the idea of an alleged "gender ideology". The most conservative sectors of politics and the church, through a patriarchal position that attacks the human rights of women and LGBTI people, promote this disqualification. We reaffirm the importance of the gender perspective in the struggle against patriarchy, reinforcing the role of education to promote equality and overcome discrimination. We also reaffirm the urgency of ensuring secular education in all countries of the region.
3. The homogenizing trends of our education systems, and therefore of its individuals, are framed as a violation of the human right to education. The increasingly widespread national and international standardized tests implemented without public debate and often defined by private actors who are not familiar with the reality of the contexts, homogenize the educational and pedagogical processes, as well as students and teachers.
4. We note with concern the rise of private actors seeking profit in public administration, occupying public policy decision-making spaces, giving a business or commercial approach to education while not only ignoring the realization of the human right to education, but also hindering it. These companies earn profit, for example, from the production of materials, development of curricula and the elaboration of assessment and teachers' training tools; they also promote individualism and competition between students and schools, contravening the principles of human rights.
5. We warn of the processes of militarization of public education that are taking place in some countries of the region, where the pedagogical coordination of schools has shifted to military corporations. These initiatives violate the right to education in its fullest conception, which is to ensure the appropriation of culture and democratic values in schools.
6. Given the increasing prevalence of security policies to the detriment of human rights policies and, in particular, of education policies, raises concern about the implementation of the security agenda (understood as control) in the education systems. Thus, the prevalence of the security agenda over the human rights agenda translates into a significant loss of financial public resources for education.
7. For the realization of the human right to education for all and throughout life, education must be a priority in the public budget, allocating a minimum of 6% of GDP for education as agreed in the Education 2030 Framework for Action and the Ministerial Declaration of Lima (2014), The allocation of public resources to strengthen public education systems is essential for a free and emancipatory education that guarantees rights.
8. We condemn the regulation, suppression and criminalization of social protests of the education movements, particularly of students, teachers and workers who defend the human right to education. Legal and administrative mechanisms are used to punish or penalize those who participate in demonstrations or social protests, as well as State’s institutional practices, leading, in many cases, to assassinations, political persecution, disappearances and constant intimidation. We urge the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean, to adopt the instruments provided in international human rights platforms to stop and prevent violence, protect the defenders of the human right to education and promote non-violent resolution of conflicts.
9. We condemn the violation of the right to participation of students and teachers of Latin America and the Caribbean, as key actors in the teaching-learning processes. Their participation in various decision-making processes, whether at school, at local or national level, is an ethical principle and a human right. We emphasize that the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by all States in the region, clearly states that children, adolescents and young people have the right to participate in decision-making and this must be respected.
10. We call for policies and education systems that respect the human rights principles, following the sense and purpose of education framed in human rights treaties, as we have stated above. All political and pedagogical processes, including the definition of evaluation systems should be at the service of peace, democracy, active citizenship and cooperation.
11. In this sense, we aim at an intrinsic and inseparable relationship between education and culture, and this must reflect in the education systems in Latin America and the Caribbean. Schools are at the same time cultural centers that not only express but also produce cultural diversity. Culture is education and education is culture. Considering the transformative education that we defend, separating education from culture would set hurdles.
12. Likewise, we defend popular education, from formal, non-formal and informal education, as the principle and means of socio-political transformation that allows to embrace hope in view of the Latin American and the Caribbean context, through a critical and constant reading of the context, collective action and the construction of socio-cultural spaces that contribute to social imaginary.
13. We reaffirm our commitment to open spaces for dialogue and discussion, with as many people as possible, in our Latin America and the Caribbean. Therefore, we take the challenge to delve into the communication work in a strategic way, extending alliances and diversifying tools, with a view to achieve greater impact in the construction of a new social imaginary around democratization and the human right to education.
14. We express our solidarity with the people of Haiti, the country that was hardest hit by the violent hurricane Matthew that caused more than 260 deaths. Furthermore, we accompany the process of demand for a free, quality, public education in this country.
15. Finally, we reaffirm our commitment with the new 2030 agenda for sustainable development, and, in particular, with the 2030 education agenda, as well as with all international, regional and national human rights frameworks, through our work and action, based on the recognition of the sovereignty of peoples and through the lens of our regional identities in Latin America and the Caribbean.