Proposals of the young people
A reflection and transformation exercise for our country.
On May 12, more than 100 middle school and high school students voluntarily met to talk about the current situation in the country, in thematic tables moderated by the teachers. The school members performed the best of exercises: thinking about their future and about the thousands of children and young people in Colombia.
In each of the work tables, the rapporteurs were in charge of summarizing and highlighting the reflections that emerged.
These are the main ideas and proposals of the students, after this exercise of dialogue and democratic participation:
WHAT DO WE THINK ABOUT THE SITUATION OF THE COUNTRY?
- The students of the Gimnasio Moderno recognize that the strikes are the result of a social and economic drama that has increased with the pandemic and the great difficulties that the country is going through.
- The right to protest is fundamental, we must find ways to avoid violence and to negotiate on the critical points of the national reality. Peaceful protest is better and more effective.
- Students are concerned about any form of abuse of power, and reject any type of violence.
- They would also like a more present authority, which provides solutions to the needs of the population.
- We all have the same rights, but we cannot violate the rights of others by believing that we are defending ours.
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED FROM THIS PANDEMIC?
- The pandemic taught us that we are privileged, to value our friends and those that are close to us.
- But it also gave us the awareness that we must help more people, that we must have compassion for others.
- The pandemic also taught us that we are part of a fragile and unequal system that needs serious modifications.
HOW CAN WE BE INFORMED ABOUT WHAT IS HAPPENING?
- Good education is not indoctrinating the student. Good education should promote critical thinking, which allows us to know the different opinions and have an informed position.
- The information that circulates about the demonstrations and about unemployment in general is biased. One way to build a more fair and democratic country is to think critically about the information that circulates.
- For such purpose, it is advisable to read different sources (check national and international sources) about the same event. Validate the different points of view and their differences. Misinformation can be scary.
- Social networks allow us to express ourselves and learn about other visions, but one has to be careful with them. The information we find can be confusing, segmented and irresponsible.
HOW CAN WE RECONCILE OURSELVES AS A COUNTRY?
- We believe that the country’s reconciliation is still possible, through empathy and respect for some fundamental agreements.
- Beyond interests and positions, it is possible to talk, integrating all sectors, indigenous people, victims, political parties, seeking agreements.
- We must learn to value the difference, to take into account the voice of all Colombians, we must also work on our emotions and prejudices.
- It is good that in politics there are different positions, even opposite sides, what is not right is that those sides cannot dialogue to reach agreements.
HOW CAN WE BUILD A MORE FAIR AND EQUITABLE SOCIETY?
- To achieve a more fair and equitable society we must better understand the complexity of our country, its regions, its people and its different realities.
- Education must promote the development of the economy but also respect differences, so that we must close a social gap.
- The country needs a structural tax reform, which may allow free education and also needs to discuss other proposals such as basic income. It’s just not the best time to do it.
- We also believe that state leaders should eliminate unnecessary expenses, to invest them in other more important aspects such as public education.
- We believe that many institutions must also be reformed so that people may trust in them again. It is better to build on what is built than to start from scratch, regardless of the person or party that governs.
- One way to contribute to democracy is by strengthening political parties and institutions, downplaying the candidate as an individual and their particular interests.
HOW CAN WE EDUCATE OURSELVES TO DEAL WITH DIFFERENCES?
- We believe that from a very young age we must educate our emotions, have more empathy with what is different. The construction of a more democratic society depends on this.
- Democracy needs greater inclusion and greater social awareness. Diversity is critical, including gender diversity.
- To defend diversity you have to live it. We must understand that we are not the only ones. We should not show off for having privileges. We must know what is the situation that other people is facing in order to help the country.
WHAT CAN WE DO AS A SCHOOL?
- We need a more contextualized education about Colombia. We would like to better study the history of indigenous peoples, as well as the history of other races and cultures that are part of our country.
- We even propose greater contact with one or several vulnerable communities, establishing transversal projects with them, to learn from their culture and work and help them to solve their problems.
- The school should promote more spaces for reflection and awareness such as this one, on which students not only have the opportunity to talk about the situation but can also be listened by teachers and school officials. The arts and humanities also play a very important role on how we express ourselves.
- These spaces for dialogue are very important, but they must be done in a sustained way so that they truly transform people and the school in general.
- WE CANNOT LOSE HOPE.