Different actors of civil society have shown the multiple flaws that exist in the school system that has excluded, for years, thousands of children and adolescents living in vulnerable contexts. Who should take charge?
"Today there are 1,500 young people who drop out of the school system, only in the commune, and who are easy prey to drug trafficking. (...) We must repair the damage that the State has done to these children. They are not deserters, they are discarded from the school system. Because Simce is more important than retaining a child in a protective factor that does not have at home, "said Claudia Pizarro, Mayor of La Pintana, at the end of May, on open television.
These affirmations, given in a context of radicalization of drug trafficking in communes of the metropolitan periphery, are the crude example of the consequences of a school system that abandons its most vulnerable students and that the State is late to them.
Although the current legislation opens the possibility of entry of any family in the country to quality educational establishments, public policies that are responsible for restoring the right to education in those who have had to abandon their studies for various reasons, are not enough or, even, they do not exist. However, civil society organizations have worked to subsidize this problem and generate calls for action to the State.
Liliana Cortés, Executive Director of Súmate Foundation, a foundation supported by the Colunga Strengthening Fund, is witnessing how education is the fundamental basis for transforming the reality of children in extreme contexts. "There are children who, when they start to live this new educational experience in the Súmate Schools, show that the talent they have is incredible. They are children who always deserved to be in emblematic schools and of high demand. Seeing that you question why someone, five years ago, decided that he or she could not be there, "he says.
Súmate Foundation, with its different programs of retention, re-entry, reinsertion and study projection, has a presence in the Metropolitan Region, Biobío, Valparaíso, Antofagasta and Coquimbo. Only in 2018, it served more than 2,400 people.
"Education is a means to guide and build improvement routes. Social mobility, the enrichment of relationships, the power to model a fairer, more solidary, more equitable society within the school. The school is a protected space for that. It is the life of children. There are no other spaces. If a boy or girl does not go to school, he does not have a community center, a villa or a house to be in, "says the Executive Director.
The impact of a good education on young people living in extreme contexts can only be effective if the work involves all the actors involved in the school system. This is what has been shown Tierra de Esperanza Foundation, also supported by the Strengthening Fund, in its experience with young offenders.
"Education work can not be done in isolation. We must establish a comprehensive commitment that aims to support processes that go beyond that dimension. It is no use doing a job of self-knowledge, strengthening skills and family resources to support young people, if the school does not do its part, welcoming them in a different way, "says José Rebolledo, National Technical Education Coordinator of the foundation.
Without forgetting that those young people who commit crimes are subjects of right and the access to be educated belongs to them, Tierra de Esperanza appeals to the State to take charge in its work to restore them. "We work from the perspective that these young people have the right to be educated. We understand reinsertion as the ability they have to insert themselves in their own community and take advantage of their potential to develop as citizens. These are real points of progress, rather than just returning to the school system, "says José Rebolledo.
"From the civil society we fulfill a function of co-guarantors of rights, but who has the obligation to guarantee them completely is the State," he concludes.
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