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Programa Encuentro de Verano de Alternativas Educativas 2016 (EVAE 2016)

Programa Encuentro de Verano de Alternativas Educativas 2016 Nota: EVAE es una mezcla de encuentro/conferencia y   desconferencia , y lo...

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Without community, there is no liberation

Without community there is no liberation. EVAE 2016

Daragh McInerney

We live in a world that is dominated by economic interests, a world that is cloaked in democratic clothes but where choice is robbed from its people by hiding the question. What does it mean to be free? If we look around, we can see many different interpretations, but I would echo Viktor Frankl when he said that ‘everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms-to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way’.

It is a terrible thing to live your life and find out near its end that you lived based on someone else’s idea of how you should live, and the chance to find your own way was denied to you. Yet that is a danger that confronts our young people, that their lives might be full of regret for lost opportunities, so having the chance to live and choose without oppression is tremendously important. Grassroots activism in the cause of non-hierarchical possibilities is fundamental in providing that freedom.

Voluntary activism that is effective and focused is difficult, as is creating and maintaining momentum. However, there are many people who care deeply, and wish to bring about changes to the conventional school system, who want there to be the legal possibility to choose something different from ‘banking education’, to quote Freire, and who are happy to work towards common goals.

In August 2014, people from different branches of progressive education came together at a freedom of education gathering in Toledo, Spain, and talked about how those branches, namely free and democratic schools, home education, and those with a desire to change the school system, could come together and work in a way that offered mutual support.

A decision was made to create RAMAE, loosely translated as the Educational Alternatives Mutual Support Network. Since then, a communication network on loomio has been set up, and the network participated in organizing EVAE 2015, the Educational Alternatives Summer Gathering 2015. While continuing to work on projects within Spain, the network would like to extend its area of operations and support to the rest of Europe, in the belief that mutual support and cooperation is the way forward, not only in Spain, but also Europe, and hopefully in time, in the rest of the world.

One of the ways in which RAMAE is trying to operate is by bringing together activists from different sectors, organisations and groups. From members of the home education associations ALE and la Coordinadora Catalana, to people involved in democratic schools or projects, to those who wish to change the school system, to people who offer workshops and services based on progressive education principles. We would like to do the same on a European level, by working with the home education network TENHE, the European democratic education community EUDEC, and the equivalent in each different European country to the Spanish association Otra Escuela es Posible and IRES network.

This idea was already discussed at the EUDEC conference in June, and at EVAE 2016 the idea is to iron out details about communication and format. Some proposals that have been made are to create a ‘Another school is possible’ network at a European level and to create a European Educational Alternatives Network in order to facilitate cooperation between European organisations. We have come up with a programme to try to include every European country in the network (1), through participation in the network itself or its components TENHE or EUDEC, and a list of questions (2) that we believe would be interesting to have answered about each country. By having an organized timetable and a clear idea of what information would be valuable to know, we can provide a platform for other, as of yet unknown, synergies to take place, and connect people who are seeking answers to questions that perhaps have not even formulated yet, but could be sought out together.

‘Without community, there is no liberation’.  Audre Lorde

(1) What age does obligatory education start and end?
Is home education legal?
What are the legal requirements to open a school?
What legal problems do unauthorized schools face than authorized ones don’t?
What strategies are used to surmount these legal problems?
Do schools have freedom to choose pedagogies and content?
What opinion does society have of non-directed learning?
What is the percentage of public schools?
What concept does society have of teachers?
What percentage of GNP is spent on education?
Have there been cutbacks on education due to the recession?
What is the percentage of early-school leavers?
How many democratic schools are there?
What organisations or individuals are active in democratic education, home education, and in promoting changes to the conventional school system, and who are the contact people in the organisations?

Albania January 7
Andorra January 14
Armenia January 21
Austria January 28
Azerbaijan February 4
Belarus February 11
Belgium February 18
Bosnia and Herzegovina February 25
Bulgaria March 4
Croatia March 11
Cyprus March 18
Czech Republic March 25
Denmark April 2 
Estonia April 9
Finland April 16
France April 23
Georgia April 30
Germany May 7
Greece May 14
Hungary May 21
Iceland May 28
Ireland June 4
Italy June 11
Kazakhstan June 18
Kosovo June 25
Latvia July 2
Liechtenstein July 9
Lithuania July 16
Luxembourg July 23
Macedonia July 30
Malta August 6
Moldova August 13
Monaco August 20
Montenegro August 27
Netherlands September 3
Norway September 10
Poland September 17
Portugal September 24
Romania October 1
Russia October 8
San Marino October 15
Serbia October 23
Slovakia October 30
Slovenia November 6
Spain November 13
Sweden November 20
Switzerland November 27
Turkey December 4
Ukraine December 11
United Kingdom December 18

Daragh McInerney has been actively involved in different forms of progressive education since 2008. He is currently a member of ALE, EUDEC, TENHE, OEEP, and RAMAE, and believes that the most enjoyable thing about his passion for educational alternatives is the wonderful people he has met along the way.

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