SEP Puebla explains inequality to students by talking about ‘chairo’ and ‘fifí’

In social networks, the image of an educational content was disseminated that for the Social Equality topic gives as an example that a father of a family, a public transport driver, tells his son that he had economic losses due to the so-called “fifí march”, in reference to demonstrations that have taken place against the presidency of Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

This content is real, but it is not in a textbook, since it is the 5th semester of upper secondary education, a level in which there are no longer books produced by the federal government, and the particular study programs are landed by each state .

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It is an exercise included by the Secretary of Public Education of Puebla in the study program of the subject Socioeconomic History of Mexico, of the Social Sciences axis, which is public on its website. It is dated as part of the 2018 study plans because in that year the contents began to be renewed, but they are being done in parts, so that the 5th year, where this exercise comes, is from 2019, when Miguel arrived at the state government Barbosa, from the Morena party.

The exercise raises this situation, verbatim:

“I was having dinner and watching my ‘face’ when my father, who is a public transport driver, told us that the traffic during his shift of the day was terrible because of ‘the famous Fifi march’ and it was very exhausting, since the bus used a lot of gasoline and There were few users, getting very little financially that day and as they had to pay the house bill, electricity, telephone and other bills, as it will hardly be enough. I kept seeing my face and mainly the memes of the march that made me laugh a lot, but my mother who gets angry and scolds me because some of her friends who are domestic workers carried the banners of their employers and said: what would you have done you? Would you have loaded the banners of your patrons? Because if you refuse, they don’t pay you for the day ”.

In networks, it was criticized that it is an example of indoctrination of children and of creating divisions among Mexicans, by promoting the use of words such as “Fifí”, that even international organizations such as Article 19 have criticized that they are used to stigmatize sectors such as the press.

In an interview with Political Animal, the Secretary of Public Education of Puebla, Melitón Lozano, explained that it is about exercises called “situation in context”, that is, a practical example for a study topic, which in this case is the problem of inequality. These examples are not compulsory but proposed content and are not given to students but only to teachers, but each one is free to use them or put others more in line with the reality of their students, as can happen in rural areas where they are address issues with community problems.

Lozano rejected that it is an “indoctrination” because there is no imposition on young people to create something, but rather an invitation to reflect.

“They accuse of indoctrination; it is the opposite. Because indoctrination would be to be told what to think and to establish value judgments or truth judgments: this is false, this is true, this is good, this is bad, and no. Rather, from the situation, questions are presented to the student and it is to provoke reflection. He is asked, for example, what would you do? This places him in an ethical dilemma, where the student has to take a position, has to analyze and has to argue. That’s critical thinking, ”he said.

The exercise itself has the following questions:

“Why are they marching? Why Fifís and Chairos? What are the characteristics of the Fifís and the Chairos? Which of these groups do I belong to? When I work, will I be able to pay my bills? What economic and social contradictions does the country have? Why are there so many inequalities in the country? Who has done something to avoid this inequality? How is inequality made known in my country? What would the news be like after the march, if I had a news program?

The official added that the example of this march or any other could have been used to raise the social dilemma. He defended that if this case was used it is because it was a real fact that the media reported, as when the exercise done with the students is to ask them to analyze a news item.

“It is as if you ask a student: bring a newspaper and from there he gets a piece of news and let’s reflect on that news. So it is linking; the pedagogical principle is to educate for life from life. And the starting point is not the exposed topic because that is very boring for the students, but rather a problem or situation ”, he affirmed.

“The fact that the words fifí and chairo have been taken is because it was in the media, as part of a social event.”

Indeed, in December 2019, one of the demonstrations against the López Obrador government was held in Mexico City, in which images of people who appeared to be employed carrying the largest banners were displayed.

Federal SEP speaks of a “mistake”; Puebla denies it

The federal SEP published on its Twitter account that the content displayed was not part of the Study Plans and Programs prepared by that agency, and that they would see with the local secretary that “such errors are corrected and not repeated in the future.”

But nevertheless, Melitón Lozano He assured that in the afternoon he spoke with the head of the SEP, Esteban Moctezuma, and that there was no problem.

“I spoke with Esteban Moctezuma and explained the rationale, and he understood. From my point of view it is not an error, it has a pedagogical basis, as I am telling you, and it is totally suitable for the pedagogy we are using. I believe that it is necessary to deepen in this type of pedagogies of the new Mexican school ”, he assured.

Article 12 of the General Education Law, he added, says that critical thinking must be encouraged, and this is achieved through reflection and not memorization, which is to move from a traditional pedagogy to an active one. And he cited three sources for the new teaching model: the French Monique Denyer and Jacques Furnémont, the Mexican Ricardo Cantoral, from Cinvestav, and the Spanish psychologist Carles Monereo Font.

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