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International Solidarity News

Vol. 7, No. 1, September 2011

Contents 

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TEACHERS AND STUDENTS FACE DANGER TO PROTECT PUBLIC EDUCATION IN LATIN AMERICA 

Recent elections in Peru may have provided an opening for the teachers’ union, SUTEP. SUTEP has played a lead role in opposing the actions of right-wing governments for the last two decades. Because of that, it has faced policies attacking the labour rights of teachers. The new president, Ollanta Humala, signaled a new direction when the union president was invited to the new government’s inauguration.

Eight BCTF members spent several weeks in Peru over the summer holidays, working with the union in offering pedagogical workshops for second language teaching through union-sponsored professional development programs.

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HONDURAN STUDENT KILLED FIGHTING SCHOOL PRIVATIZATION 

Teachers in Honduras played a key role in opposition to the coup two years ago that forced the president of the country into exile. The government of coup supporters is now bringing in policies to privatize the entire education system.

Students and parents, as well as teachers, are opposing privatization. More than 150 schools around the country have been occupied by students and parents and the teacher unions have provided support to the occupiers.

A 17-year-old student, who was guarding the door of one of the schools, was shot and killed. At least 12 teachers have been killed in the demonstrations and actions opposing the coup and the policies it has adopted.

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 KILLING OF TEACHERS CONTINUES IN COLOMBIA 

A contest no one wants to win—the country where the most teachers, particularly union activists, are assassinated. That is Colombia. And the deaths continue, with more assassinations in the past few weeks.

The entire staff of one school had to go into internal exile after they were warned that they would be targets. Some 4 million people in Colombia are internal exiles—people forced to leave their home towns and villages and go to live in the impoverished townships that circle Colombian cities.

Despite this preoccupation with safety, FECODE, the teachers’ union, is engaging teachers in professional development through “pedagogical circles”—opportunities for reflecting on practice. The project is partially funded by the BCTF International Solidarity Fund.

Co-Development Canada is organizing a delegation of Canadians to take part in a Latin American Pedagogical Congress in Bogotá in December, with a visit as well to teachers taking part in the pedagogical circles.

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STUDENTS AND TEACHERS CHALLENGE PRIVATIZATION OF SCHOOLS IN CHILE 

Chile already has one of the most privatized education systems in the world—a carryover from the policies of the Pinochet dictatorship. The new right-wing government has moved to privatize whatever is left of the public system.

This has created a backlash that is being played out on the streets. What started as a school protest has expanded: “Protesters now want increases in education and health care spending, pension and labor code reform, even a new Constitution that would give voters the chance to participate in referendums—a form of direct democracy previously unthinkable in a country only two decades removed from a 1973–90 military dictatorship.”

One protest sign captured the essence of the campaign: “Do you want to study in Chile? Play the lottery.” 

More information at http://www.teachersolidarity.com/blog/chile-general-strike-follows-campaign-for-education/.

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 USING TECHNOLOGY TO TAKE PART IN AN ONLINE GLOBAL EDUCATION CONFERENCE 

The 2011 Global Education Conference will be held November 14–18, 2011, online and free. Sessions will take place in multiple time zones and multiple languages over the five days. The 2010 Global Education Conference had 15,028 unique logins and presentations from 62 countries.

To be kept informed of the latest conference news and updates, join this network: http://globaleducation.ning.com/main/authorization/signUp.

The conference is a collaborative and world-wide community project designed to significantly increase opportunities for globally-connecting education activities. Our goal is to help you make connections with other educators and students, and for this reason the conference is very inclusive and also provides broad opportunities for participating and presenting. We have expert presenters and keynote speakers, but we also encourage presenters who either have not presented before or have not presented in Elluminate [now Blackboard Collaborate].

--From Education Beyond Borders

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YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE—AEROPLAN MILES 

CoDevelopment Canada brings activists from Latin America to Canada to provide first-hand information on the realities faced in their countries as they struggle for human rights and social justice.

Individuals can help in this process through the Aeroplan Charitable Pooling Program. Through this you can donate miles to CoDev so they can redeem travel rewards for bringing partners to Canada.

You can find out more by e-mailing Kylie, kepstein@codev.org, calling her at 604-708-1497, or going to the website at www.codev.org.

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INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY E-MAIL LISTS  

Know anyone who might be interested in receiving the BCTF’s International Solidarity News in their e-mail? It comes out about once a month. Have them send a request to be added to the list to afield@bctf.ca.

Get on the CoDevelopment Canada Partners in Solidarity newsletter list by going to their website at http://www.codev.org/codev2/.

The Vancouver CIDA office has a monthly newsletter that provides updates on international development events and activities in the region as well as opportunities. Send a request to azita.alavi@acdi-cida.gc.ca to get on the list.


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