Students from most high schools that remained occupied in the City of Buenos Aires decided yesterday to suspend the measure in their respective institutions, which had extended for roughly a month in protest against the City government’s educational reform.
However, representatives from the students unions clarified that this doesn’t mean they suddenly agree with the reform, and that they will continue protesting in other ways. The first one will take place today, when they march to the City’s Education Ministry, with the intention to present a formal request to the Horacio Rodríguez Larreta administration to delay the implementation of the program, and the creation of a so called “Pedagogic Congress,” where students, parents, teachers, school authorities and government officials can debate the reform. If their demands are not met, they warned, they will go back to occupying the schools.
Students are mainly protesting against the reform’s intention to have fifth year students – the last one in City high schools – spend “50 percent of their time applying what they learned in businesses and organizations, based on their talents and interests.” They argue that in fact this is a cover to provide companies free labor, which on top of everything will take studying time from them.
However, the request is likely to prove unfruitful: authorities from the Education Ministry have already announced that they won’t budge on their intention to implement the reform in 23 high schools next year, and gradually extend it to the other 117 institutions of the kind throughout the next years.
The Education Ministry’s Undersecretary of Pedagogic Coordination and Educational Equity, Andrea Bruzos, told Clarín that instead of the requested Congress, Education Minister Soledad Acuña has committed to have eight meeting with students to clarify any doubt they might have. “Our idea, however, is to have meetings every Saturday until the end of the year to explain everything that they might want to know,” she added.
Students have already anticipated that they won’t attend the meetings, arguing “they’re not binding.” They will hold a press conference after the march, at 4 PM, to announce what their next steps will be. Considering that both camps have already made it clear that they won’t budge to the other’s demands, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if students go back to occupying their schools.