Olmedo España, Virgilio Alvarez, Leopoldo Colom, Demetrio Cojtí and Giancarlo Ibárgüen S., at the URL auditorium

What educational reform do we need?  Was the title of the forum Perspectives, discussing the national reality, celebrated last Thursday September 7th 2006.

The participants were Giancarlo Ibárgüen S., from the Centro de Estudios Económico-Sociales (
CEES); Demetrio Cojtí, from the Centro de Documentación e Investigación Maya; Virgilio Alvarez, from the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales; y Olmedo España, from Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, with the conduction by  Leopoldo Colom, from Universidad Mariano Gálvez.

Ibárgüen, said that it is necessary to free education just as it was done with the telecommunications market.  He commented that the educational options would be infinite and there would be supply for every kind of interests and pockets. Why do we trust education to the State regulation and monopoly?  And, why we would not trust our food supply to the state? he questioned while referring to the need for parent to be the pillars of education.  Consulted on leaving this task to illiterate parents, he answered that he knows the cases of many who have migrated to America searching for better opportunities and have made the effort for their children to study.  He presented the example of countries like India, where the parents prefer paying an annual fee of $US24 per students in a private school so their children get quality education proven with evaluations. 

The newspaper Prensa Libre, with the Universidad Francisco Marroquín, Universidad Mariano Galvez, Universidad Rafael Landívar and Universidad San Carlos de Guatemala organize these forums as a contribution to the comprehension and discussion of national reality.  The
media coverage was published on Monday September 11th 2006 in a story by Claudia Vásquez. 

Colom reminded us that the term educational reform has been used since more than 20 years ago and with every government it has been slightly changed, but no deep changes have been done, thats why the results are not visible jet.

“We have progressed very little and there has not been any fulfillment of the peace agreements nor the identity and rights of the indigenous towns”, said Cojtí.

One of the most debated topics was the role of the State in education.  Álvarez assured there can be no reform without the state intervention, which must be weighted with private enterprise and the civil society.

For España, terms like standards, reform and bilingual education used by the educational authorities, must first be adapted to our reality to make some real changes.

The last forum of this series, was held at USAC last June 2005 in which Roberto Blum, from the UFM’s David Hume Ethics Center, participated.  The subject was values and antivalues.

This edition of Perspectives was held at the Auditorium of the Universidad Rafael Landívar.  Jaime Carrera, vicepresident of that house of studies gave the welcoming words as host, and Luisa Fernanda Murcia, from Prensa Libre, gave the welcoming words in name of the organizers.  Claudia López, from URL, was the master of ceremonies.

More photos,
here.