April 19, 2024


It is necessary to rescue the figure of Karl Polanyi (1886-1964) to understand the current tense ideological debate, which has also been installed in the educational field due to its enormous social significance. in his essay The great transformation. Political and economic origins of our time (1944), this Hungarian thinker advanced a maxim that is reproduced today, in the midst of a kind of reactionary revolution that invades different pores of our society: within the legitimization of social practices to reform systems of domination and give them prevalence, hides an illusory idea of ​​freedom; in it, there is only “full freedom for those whose income, leisure and security do not need to be increased, and barely a pittance of freedom for the people, who can try in vain to make use of their democratic rights to protect themselves from the power of the owners of the property”.

If those democratic rights are lost, that human being’s ability to choose freely is curtailed. That is what has happened recently with the abolition of the face-to-face night Baccalaureate in the Community of Madrid, to instead implement a blended study modality on the structure of virtual education. The measure —one more— represents a new diamond for the highly censored adult education film in this country (greatly forgotten by our educational system), which has been seriously lacking for years.

Suppressing the possibility of following a face-to-face organizational model for those who can combine it with their jobs and want to continue training because in their youth they did not have the opportunity to do so limits the wealth that a real accompaniment on the part of the older population can have for the older population. Specialist teachers in highly complex subjects whose doubts cannot be resolved in tutorial sessions. We talk about subjects such as Mathematics, Philosophy, Language, Universal Literature, Latin, Physics and Chemistry or Biology and Geology. How is the acquisition of their curricular objectives, their knowledge and, above all, the right to learn of those people who can combine studies with the world of work guaranteed, as many of us did in our time, without benefiting from the value of face-to-face? ?

Quality adult education, face-to-face and with a truly flexible offer adjusted to all needs, becomes something prohibitive

in the feature film the truman show (1998), by Peter Weir, a similar dystopia is presented that predicts the rise of virtuality not as a source of progress, but to cover the cultural shame of a reality collapsed by the arteries of capitalism, where what remains for physical contact it is that which is simple, empty, liquid or ephemeral. In the film, what through the screen is a spectacle for the masses in prime time, in the real life of the protagonist is irrelevant, everyday. One more day. This is what our era is being relegated to if we continue to think that the time of machines, of hyperreality, can replace direct contact with an explanation, careful reading, a recitation, didactic advice or a thematic debate.

The virtualization of many forms of education is especially punishing adult or post-compulsory education -now also language teaching-. Condemned to canned formats where there is not a moment to stop to think or listen, its dismantling is exemplified as an anecdote in something that is narrated in the novel back to when (2023), by the Venezuelan María Elena Morán. At one point in the play, one of the characters receives an invitation to a Portuguese course for foreigners, in “three-hour classrooms, twice a week”, before which the following reflection is made: “she was more given to short, practical courses, and had taken hundreds of them, most of them half useless. How many stories of a similar nature can we tell about the telematic format (anglicism is widespread e-learning) to which what is also euphemistically called lifelong learning onlinebut which is basically nothing more than an x-ray of the loss of human contact, of the depth of a close academic conversation.

Education for working adults suffers cuts that hide a Machiavellian commitment to reduce the number of teachers

In this context of overflowing digitization, which also brings – I do not deny it – many relevant advances for schools, education for working adults suffers cuts that hide a Machiavellian commitment to reduce the number of teachers who serve the student body. This model offers endless second chance experiences that we all know, because we have them around us in relatives, relatives, acquaintances, friends, or even in ourselves.

In a certain way, we all know the story of those who did not give up and were able to finish thanks to a Baccalaureate for adults despite the difficulties; However, cutting and modifying the offer of these studies limits the freedom to choose for those who prefer those hybrid models that expand so much within the scintillating fashion of our era, but also for those who prefer to opt for face-to-face classes from all over the world. life because they require direct instruction and interaction with the teacher, at least in part of the schedule. It is a dynamited right that fattens other rights: those of those who, from their privileges, can choose a face-to-face format designed to suit them, because their pocket allows it, in private institutions and centers.

with this new diamond On the television schedule of school inequality, quality adult education, face-to-face and with a truly flexible offer adjusted to all needs, becomes something prohibitive for those who fell into the meritocratic trap once and want to try to stand up for themselves. own means. Something as banned as those programs and films on Spanish television during the Franco regime, which were subjected to a curious regulation code with those small geometric figures that appeared in the upper right part of the screens. At that time, studying, attending cultural meetings or reading were also prohibitive items, often only within the reach of the elites.

overall, a diamond further. A new goal this elimination to catapult even more towards the podium at this time of cybernetic immediacy where there is not a moment to stop. A future that is already that irrepressible present that Ray Bradbury announced in Fahrenheit 451 (1953): “man’s mind spins so fast at the impulses of editors, exploiters and announcers that the centrifugal force eliminates all unnecessary thought, origin of a loss of valuable time”.

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