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Public Schools students coordinate Strike by fotoblogs

Categories: Latin America, Chile, Digital Activism, Education, Governance, Youth

More than 40,000 public school students (and now some private (ES) [1] as well) have participated in mobilizations all over Chile in the last weeks. They are asking for free public transportation, free entrance exams, a revision of full time school classes, and the detraction of the Organic Law of Education. The entrance exams/a> (ES) cost US $40 per student (the minimum wage is US $240 a month). In some public schools there is not sufficient infrastructure to have dining halls for a full time classes and the [2]Organic Law of Education [3](ES) is from 1980. They goverment has made changes to this law in 1990, but the general vision hasn’t changed that much.

They participate through marches, protests, and by occupying public schools, colleges and universities. They are also holding conversation workshops and coordinating with the mayor of each area. And also … by web sites, blogs and fotoblogs. It’s amazing that while authorities were asking how to coordinate nationally, they forgot to check the web. The pro-active student group has more or less 6.000 people and is located in the capital, Santiago [4].

One of the most traditional public schools, “Instituto Nacional” – more than 12 presidents of Chile have studied over there, last one was Ricardo Lagos [5]- has its website [6] . Another is José Victorino Las Tarrias’ fotoblog [7] (ES). , Liceo 1 Javiera Carrera [8] (ES), Liceo de Aplicación's blog [9] and fotoblog [10] (ES), Barros Borgoño [11](ES) . Most use nicknames to refer to the name of the school such as “Carmelianas” [12] (ES) , for example.

They post about the last information, convocation of strike, meeting and events, and also…a competition with all of the public schools fotoblogs in the list to vote for the best one. New leaders are emerging in this groups that in other situations, would probably be weighed down by bureaucracy, and blogs have become a window to make leaders grow and others students participate, sending photos, comments, voting and also emails.

Now, the major plan of the students is to hold a national strike on May 30th [13]. They will not march, the idea is to have peaceful meetings [14] among students. The right wing has taken advantage of this situation to criticize Michelle Bachelet's [15] governance. The Education Minister is working now with parliaments from the left and right wing to agree on the best solution to resolve the demands of the students.