The Politics of Nonformal Education in Latin America

By Carlos Alberto Torres | Go to book overview

cause of the new revolutionary ideology, a new set of assumptions regarding power and individual rights may be implemented in these new adult education programs, and a strong emphasis is placed on the notion of democracy as content as opposed to the notion of democracy as a method of political representation--which is the basis for establishing the relationships between education and democracy in Western societies.


NOTES
1.
The poverty line is defined as the minimum threshold necessary to satisfy the basic needs of nourishment, health, clothing, housing, and education ( Latapí, 1987).
2.
A family is on or below the destitution line when its income is not sufficient to satisfy the minimum nutritional requirements of its members, even if the entire family income were to be spent on this purpose ( Latapí, 1987).
3.
The notion of crisis poses particular problems to any serious analysis in the social sciences. To put it simply, there are many types of crisis from a theoretical perspective. Without attempting a taxonomy of the different types, let us note that there are social crises (e.g., the complete disorganization of the dynamics of reproduction of the social structures in El Salvador today); there are fiscal crises of the state, which are clearly perceived as a gap between revenues and expenditure in the context of increasing mass demands and pressure for social services (typical of most of the industrial advanced societies today and definitely a feature of the most industrialized societies in Latin America); there are crises of representation between the masses and their natural institutions of political representation (e.g., the political parties, the church, etc.), and between the dominant classes and the political alliances that control the public sector apparatus; there are crises of legitimation and crises of hegemony, which are related to an overall crisis in the social formation, a crisis between the vertical and social controls established in any society, with a particular emphasis on the perceived role of the state as guaranteeing and safeguarding the reproduction of the social system while simultaneously appearing as the representative of the general will. This discussion on crises has, obviously, practical implications and connotations. For instance, speaking about the debt crisis, Beatrice Avalos quoted the magazine South.

A recent World Bank Study of the impact of depression on Latin America noted a reduction in primary school enrollment rates in Chile, a rise in infant mortality rates in Brazil and evidence of falling consumption of cooking oil, meat and milk in Mexico's poorest households. Argentina has had to introduce a food programme covering 5.5 million of its 30 million people. It takes a long time for cutbacks in medical and educational services to affect health and literacy indicators, but there is increasing concern that the large reductions in government spending since the debt crisis broke will undo years of slow progress in these areas. ( Avalos, 1987: 152)

4.
At the end of 1986, the long-term debt of developing countries amounted to $1 trillion, more than double their total export of goods and services. The total payment of interest amounted to $65 billion; and in Latin America only, by the end of 1985 the total

-105-

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