You are my other me: The importance of educating the Mexican women of the future 

Florinda was just 11 years old when her family was displaced from the community of San José Yashtinín, San Cristóbal de las Casas Municipality, in Mexico’s Chiapas State in 2012. She was unable to continue with her studies for around two years following her family’s displacement because the paperwork and certificates she needed to enrol in a new school were left behind. In 2019 she told CSW she hoped to finish her studies in order to teach other children. 

Another woman, Alma, was 17 years old when her education was interrupted after her family was forcibly displaced from their village of Tuxpan de Bolaños, Bolaños Municipality, Jalisco State, in December 2017. She was subsequently unable to enrol in a new school, derailing her plans to become a nurse. 

Three years ago, to mark Children’s Day in the country, Alma travelled to Mexico City to meet with government officials. She also met with the National Council to Prevent Discrimination (CONAPRED) who expressed regret for what had happened: “We owe you an apology, this country owes you an apology…We have certainly failed in the process but we are here to protect you, so that your trajectory in life is what you want it to be.” 

This year, as Mexico observes Children’s Day, we call for more than an apology; we call for action.  

Continue reading “You are my other me: The importance of educating the Mexican women of the future “

New Education Policy 2020: A subtle attempt to reshape India’s collective thinking

In July 2020, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government released a 62-page ‘New Education Policy’ (NEP) to much excitement. It had been 34 years since the last education policy was rolled out, so the excitement was understandable.

On the surface, the policy looks grand and attractive. It speaks of reformation and becoming a ‘Global Knowledge Superpower’. However, India’s religious minorities are dissatisfied. In the 18 months since its release, there have been several protests against it by Muslim and Christian groups, claiming that they have been left out of the central government’s glorious vision for the future. 

Here are some of the key concerns. 

Lack of representation of religious minorities

While the 1986 education policy focused on giving minorities and women access to education, reducing child drop out rates and introducing education for adults, the NEP 2020 seems to focus more on technology, new-age curricula and innovation, with hardly any specific agenda to uplift members of minority communities. In fact, the word ‘minority’ is only mentioned twice and ‘Muslim’ is mentioned once – ironically to admit that they are under-represented. 

Continue reading “New Education Policy 2020: A subtle attempt to reshape India’s collective thinking”

Set up to fail: Pakistan’s Single National Curriculum will only make life harder for religious minority children

In July 2020, the government of Pakistan announced the creation of a ‘Single National Curriculum’ (SNC) to replace its 2006 school curriculum. Given the country’s long history of discriminatory practices in educational settings, and the SNC’s stated objective of providing “all children… a fair and equal opportunity to receive high quality education,” one would have expected this to be a welcome development for minorities in Pakistan, a chance to tackle inequalities and division from the ground up.

Sadly, this was not the case.

In an attempt to make the proposed curriculum more digestible to Pakistan’s more conservative Islamist elements, and particularly to win the support of the country’s madrassahs (Islamic religious schools), the government of Punjab granted the Islamic Muttahida Ulema Board (MUB) a role in the review and approval of all textbooks under the SNC.

This has proved disastrous, providing the MUB with an opportunity to reinforce the sectarian and divisive agendas which have permeated the Pakistani education system for decades.

Continue reading “Set up to fail: Pakistan’s Single National Curriculum will only make life harder for religious minority children”

Cultura de impunidad en México Parte 1: Mediación en lugar de justicia

Si bien el tráfico de drogas en México está lejos de desaparecer, el presidente Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) afirmó recientemente que “ya no hay guerra”. Tiene una nueva estrategia. El presidente dice que ya no están tratando de arrestar a los narcotraficantes, sino que quieren analizar las causas de la violencia.

“No hemos detenido a los jefes [de las bandas criminales] porque esa no es nuestra función principal. La función principal del gobierno es garantizar la seguridad pública … Lo importante para mí es bajar el número de homicidios, robos, que no haya secuestros. ¡Esto es lo esencial! No es algo extraordinario, porque perdimos mucho tiempo en esto y no resolvió nada ”.

Para lograr esto, AMLO parece estar buscando grupos religiosos.

Continue reading “Cultura de impunidad en México Parte 1: Mediación en lugar de justicia”

The Story of the Loc Hung Vegetable Garden, Part 3: “We just want to find a solution”

Over the past few weeks we have been looking at the story of the expropriation of the Loc Hung Vegetable Garden in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. The operation took place in January 2019 and saw the forcible eviction of thousands of residents and the destruction of over 500 homes. Today, nearly two years later the residents of Loc Hung continue to await justice.

Last week we heard from a 13-year-old resident of the garden who faced harassment at school. This week we are talking to Tran Minh-Thi, a local music teacher, who shares about her own experiences and reflects on the broader situation for children from the garden.

What is your connection with the Loc Hung Vegetable Garden case?

I was born and grew up in the vegetable garden and have lived here for over 40 years. My paternal grandparents migrated south to live and farm on the land. They passed it down to my parents, and myself and all my siblings all worked on the land as well until January 2019, when the demolition happened. My nieces and nephews also live and work on this land, so it has been in my family for four generations now. There are a lot of us – more than 70 in total – my grandparents had five children and my parents had 11, so with extended family it’s almost like one hundred.

Continue reading “The Story of the Loc Hung Vegetable Garden, Part 3: “We just want to find a solution””