August 12 marks the annual celebration of International Youth Day. It is an international day of awareness, recognizing youth across the globe and to celebrate young peoples’ voices, actions and initiatives, as well as their meaningful, universal and equitable engagement. International Youth Day was created by the UN and focuses on youth and their place in society. In 1999, in its resolution 54/120, the General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers of Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day. It’s not just about protecting youth, but to include them in the development of communities around the world, whether they’re rich or poor. Youth can be a positive force for development when provided with the knowledge and opportunities they need to thrive. Today at the CFIA we celebrate the qualities of young people and proudly launch the research on Frugality as Value and Practice in schools.
Achieving the best educational quality with limited resources.
The essence of a critical pedagogy is to develop an educational project that goes beyond the classroom and pursues a vision of more equal and resilient communities. The research team of the Frugality as Value and Practice project, led by Dr. Georgina Gómez, Associate Professor of the International Institute of Social Studies, studied a Jesuit group of educationalists in Latin America that aim at providing such high quality education in marginal, remote and low-income locations.
The group emerged in the 60s as a critical education movement to promote comprehensive, inclusive and high-quality educational processes from, with and for communities in remote rural places throughout Latin America. Its mission centres on spilling over the educational actions beyond the classrooms and in that spirit its schools have developed a pedagogical project that engages local communities in a participatory dialogue, namely with households, neighbours and other local agencies.
Their institutional work has been extensively known and recognized as successful educational experiences in rural Latin America. However, the empirical evidence that can be accountable for the results and impacts on the beneficiary population is scarce and highly focused on academic performance. This study will act as an evaluation in order to define the contribution in terms of impact of the movement at the level of students and graduates. Moreover, it seeks to understand the tensions between conceiving innovations to educate children to transform society and the severe resource constraints of the settings where they operate.
‘’I think the whole project is about examining the innovation of education to get the best possible quality in resource constrained settings where there is no drinking water at home, children go to school without having breakfast and whose mothers or themselves are subject to domestic violence. And in this context, doing more with the resources available becomes crucial, which is the whole point of frugal innovation’’, Gómez says. ‘’The motivation of children and youth is amazing. Despite the incredible hardships they endure, they dream of going to university and having a better future for them and their families.''
Launching the Knowledge File
The research project covers six Latin American countries and is carried out by ISS alumni in each location. In our Knowledge File three research briefs on three levels of study are published: the individual, community and national level. These research briefs are written and published for fellow academics, policymakers, civil servants, international organizations, think-tanks and practitioners interested in educational policy.