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MEXICO: Education and the Mexican people

Linda Nyquist has an unusual knowledge of Mexico from the inside.and a deep empathy for its people. She writes:

"This really isn't going to occur in my lifetime, I'm sure at this point, but if all those haves in Mexico and other developing countries would come to the realization that the impoverished masses are really their equals in every way except the accident of the circumstances of birth (boy, did some of us get lucky!) and use some common sense, maybe things MIGHT change. We really have to roll up our sleeves, take off the suits, and get out into the country and clean up the mess all over which is precluding any kind of real change. How can anything of use happen when people are living in the kind of environments which we witness in the third world. I have read the WAIS postings with interest, and some very valid points have been made. One of them was about technical educations. In my own limited experience, I was horrified when a young man whose education I supported came to visit several years ago. He was "licenciado en sistemas computacionales" or something like that. In spite of an extensive library that I have in both Spanish and English, this young man spent most of the day watching cartoons. He had no interest in classical music, the arts, politics, medicine, nothing. It was extremely disappointing to me, as he was completely lacking in culture, and I had paid a substantial amount of my hard-earned money to pay his tuition at the University of the Americas and finally at another private university in Puebla. Yes, the failure was partly his, but also his environment. There was so much that he did not know, but he was not at all interested in learning. And he was planning on teaching. His idea of teaching was to have students parrot what he would tell them. That a student might question him was unthinkable.

All of this needs changing for progress. I am not a fan of Fox or his party. His party is that of the conservatives and privileged in Mexico, but I had high hopes for what was a stated position of honesty and a pledge to clean up a corrupt system. But it will take the intent of a nation; not just the goodwill of a single individual. And it won't take place in a boardroom. I believe that I must take place in the small school rooms and meeting halls in the rural villages and small towns in the provinces of Mexico until the "winds once again sweep Mexico."

My footnote: The last sentence is a reference to the famous book on the Mexican Revolution by Anita Brenner, The Wind that Swept Mexico. Let us hope the next "revolution" will be peaceful.

Ronald Hilton - 12/1/01