Thousands of teachers marched in Cusco, this 25th and 26th of April. This protest by state workers in the education sector was not overwhelming at national level because of a politically divided union. However, it is worth noting that the demonstration created discomfort in the tourist flow and reflected the image of a crisis that has been taking place in the country for a long time.
In the opinion of many, education has always been the last wheel of our car? it has the lowest budgets. This protest, is based on a just claim: the policies and vision of the Ministry of Education looking to 2021, the year in which we celebrate the bicentenary of of our national independence.
I wonder what independence? The most powerful weapon for change, such as education seems relegated to mere political speeches showing a real change. To make change it is necessary that there be a greater investment in its protagonists; a living wage for its teachers, who are the professionals with the lowest salaries in the country. It also requires a greater interest in students and for this purpose not to exclude them or try to force their minds ideologically.
By the latter I mean that in public education, Catholic dogma is imposed in a required course called simply religion. In my humble opinion this dogma does not develop critical thought but rather submission to the Catholic religion. Obviously the Catholic Church has a lot influence even in the powers of the state, already, but it is impossible to achieve national development if the people are not educated to think critically.
Of course not every student is taken in by this curricular imposition. Many, with knowledge of their freedom, apply for exemption from the course through their parents. For many others who might wish the exemption,, this does not work because their parents are devoted Catholics who who subject their children to this vicious circle.
What happens to the students who are heard by their parents and they are exonerated of the course? They have to take the hour free, either in the patio or in the library of their school. I wonder, if education provided by the state will enhance social development. This may be the reason why private schools have increased and they are often managed by religious sects, even in higher education.
These protests are just and they should not only lead us to reflect on how poorly paid teachers are who work for the state, but also to think about the image of our nation shown to the world. Cusco is a cosmopolitan city and, in these next months, sees a massive increase its flow of tourists his can give these protests resonance in international media, even though the Peruvian press only speaks of a potential pardon for former president Fujimori. It was precisely who removed from the national curriculum a course in philosophy under the pretext that through philosophy many people became extremists and insurgents,
In these moments as Peru arises from a crisis brought by natural disasters, we must think not only of a material reconstruction but also of a moral reconstruction, starting with improving the education of Peruvians.