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Diálogos sobre educación. Temas actuales en investigación educativa

versión On-line ISSN 2007-2171


GARCES MENESES, Julián Alejandro. The challenge of modern, democratic schools: the case of Colombia. Diálogos sobre educ. Temas actuales en investig. educ. [online]. 2017, vol.8, n.15, 00007. ISSN 2007-2171.

In an effort to restore democracy, the Colombian State has since 1991 aimed to achieve it through education, placing democracy as a fundamental pillar in teaching in order to educate citizens in the spaces opened by educational centers.

In time, this initial purpose to train participatory and deliberative young leaders with exceptional skills to represent their community was lost due to multiple factors. Schools have been yet another victim of the violence and the difficult socio-economic situation experienced by young people. These factors, along with the outlining and homogenization of the school, are linked to the teachers’ spirit, preparation and pedagogy, leading to the failure of the democratic scenario known as school government.

The notion of democratic schools has become a myth, because it is believed that it consists merely of planning and implementing the election of student government. What the school actually reflects is a failure in implementing true democracy, because of the way in which educational centers are traditionally directed and the rigidity of their administrative hierarchy.

The government has done little in recent decades to recover true democracy, distancing it increasingly from schools and turning it into a myth or a challenge, still in the limelight for educational actors but invisible to governmental action. Schools must therefore prepare and evolve to improve democratic practices in an inclusive fashion, working on aspects such as the meaning of a democratic school and a participatory, representative and deliberative democracy, but mainly to educate in the political sphere.

Palabras llave : education; school government; democracy; participation; myth.

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