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You Could See the Future in the Children’s Eyes

by Ricardo Jiménez

In Chile, a new branch of the History of South American Integration was officially presented, which underscores the objective need of a South American community, the wealth of the pluri- and cross-cultural nature of the continent, and the understanding of migrations …

On Monday, April 18, 2011 a new course was officially presented called “History, Geography, and Social Sciences of South America,” to a public including 12-year-old children from the Escuela República de Alemania in Santiago, which is emblematic of best practices in the integration of immigrant pupils of a variety of South American nationalities.

The course, which became mandatory from then on for all seventh-grade pupils, had begun regular classes in March and hoped to end the school year with a full delivery of the content of the program, focused on the history of South American unity from its most distant origins to the first Pan-Andean cultures, underscoring the objective need of a South American community, the wealth of the pluri- and cross-cultural nature of the continent, and the understanding of migrations.

The main protagonists of the occasion were the children themselves. The classroom was full, with its 38 pupils: 4 Chileans, 3 Colombians, 1 Ecuadorian, and 30 Peruvians. The school’s history teacher, one of the main movers of this initiative, along with a teacher’s assistant, taught the class on the historical development of world maps and its geopolitical and cultural implications for South America, using as support a completely new and valuable educational video.

When the class was over, several of the leaders, participants, and collaborators of the initiative came into the classroom and had a conversation with the kids.

Héctor Pezoa of the Migrants Citizen Secretariat in Chile, General Coordinator of the initiative, declared his satisfaction for what had already been accomplished, which albeit modest, was the culmination of more than two years of arduous volunteer work, overcoming difficulties, incomprehension, and fears of all kinds, typical for anything that is new and pioneering, nonetheless overcome with the conviction and trust that this was a necessary task, both from the ethical and the historical points of view.

He ended by telling of the new challenges and the great possibilities opening up from then on for a greater impact of the initiative. Among others, to publish the existing text; to write the pupils’ manual; to institute a diploma to train history professors in this course in order to extend it to more schools with similar characteristics. The legal resolution of the Ministry of Education that allows this course under the “Own Program Plan” and on the condition that it is culturally relevant to the school community, also authorizes its extension to any other school in Chile that requests it. Furthermore, the initiative could be extended to all primary- and secondary-school grades, and to other South American countries.

You could see the future in the children’s eyes.

Published on: 7 March 2012
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