Bernal, Making good citizens


Citizenship training

by Miguel Antonio Bernal V.

Our public universities have been the first to abandon their mission of being guides in the process of educating citizens.

The maelstrom of education in our country demands a civic reaction. However, this does not happen. The authorities are determined to cultivate ignorance.

Given this, it is urgent that we insist on the need for decisive action to train citizens for democratization and the full exercise of civic virtues. This is unfortunately absent today from educational programs at all levels.

It is not possible to speak of democracy if there is no education of citizens that has that objective. We have been induces to forget that education is the introduction to democratization. People with interests in doing so promote ignorance so that they ca profit with impunity from corruption. These days such militant ignorance is promoted and revered by a joint criminal enterprise that governs and its greatest accomplice, the partisan political system as we know it.

The political education of citizens, Amy Guttman points out, should have primacy over other objectives of public education because it “prepares citizens to participate in consciously reproducing their society, and conscious social reproduction is the ideal not only of democratic education but also of democratic politics.”

It is urgent to awaken the interest of all students, and all citizens in public affairs. That includes the practices, values and institutions of democracy. It is urgent to have citizen control mechanisms to avoid exaggerated irrationality in the exercise of political power.

Public universities have been the first to abandon their mission of being a guide in the objectives of citizen education. Today, they favor bureaucracy, nepotism, patronage and opportunism, as the recent revelations about UNACHI show.

The opponents of constitutionalism as a freedom strategy – although they deny this –cling to a parallel process that would close the doors to change. But it’s a brand new constitution, wrought in a process that the present in-crowd does not control, that would open the way for the democratizing transformation that our society and institutions require.

The same ones who have chosen to be fugitives from a Constituent Assembly are also the ones who block civic education. It’s time to separate the wheat from the chaff. It’s time to exercise our power as citizens. Let’s do that with the dignity and determination that these times require of us.



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