EcoTech Eco Technological Centre (Alternative Education and Training)

The construction of TALE Educational Model has been greatly influenced by the historical and social evolution and the current political, economic, social, cultural and educational situation of different Latin American countries, especially those where major indigenous cultures have flourished.

Also, TALE Educational Model has been inspired by various educational streams and universal thinkers, amongst them, Paulo Freire, Ivan Illich, Rabindranath Tagore, Maria Montessori, Bertrand Russell, Célestin Freinet, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Pierre Bourdieu, Edgar Morin, Benjamin Bloom, Martin Carnoy, Samuel Bowles, Herbert Gintis, Fazle Hasan Abed, Luis Achaerandio.

In addition, TALE Alternative Educational Model has learned from the experiences of community, sustainable development and educational programmes in various countries:

  • Educational system in Finland (www.minedu.fi/OPM/?lang=en)
  • BRAC-Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (education.brac.net)
  • Planetary Citizenship House/Instituto Paulo Freire (ww.paulofreire.org)
  • Barefoot College, Bunker Roy (www.barefootcollege.org)
  • Permaculture Research Institute, Zaytuna Farm, The Channon, Australia; Bill Mollison & David Holmgren (www.permaculture.org.au)
  • Navdanya Biodiversity Farm + Earth University (Bija Vidyapeeth), Vandana Shiva; Dehradun, India (www.navdanya.org)
  • ICEM-Institut Coopératif de l’Ecole Moderne-Pédagogie C.Freinet, Nantes, France (www.icem-pedagogie-freinet.org)
  • Multicultural Active Experimental Educational Unit Inka-Samana, Saraguro (Cuenca), Ecuador (project-activities.susiladharma.org/location_latin_america/inka_samana_school.shtml)
  • New School (Escuela Nueva), Colombia (www.escuelanueva.org)
  • Liceo Javier (primary and high-school), Guatemala (www.liceojavier.edu.gt)
  • KIPP-Knowledge Is Power Programme Public Charter Schools, San Francisco, CA, U. S. A. (www.kipp.org)
  • Edutopia/George Lucas Educational Foundation – Core strategies for innovation and reform in Learning, San Francisco, CA, U. S. A. (www.edutopia.org)
  • SGI-Soka Gakkai International, Tokyo, Japan (www.sgi.org, www. ikedacenter.org)
  • Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore, India (www.srishti.ac.in)
  • Garden Programme in Education Centres (Programa Huertas) / Faculty of Agronomy / Logros Foundation, Montevideo, Uruguay (www.fundacionlogros.org.uy)
  • Fondation Pierre Rabhi, Lablachère, France  (www.fondationpierrerabhi.org)

In essence, those theories, thoughts and experiences show alternative educational models where it takes place a learning process: anchored in specific historical and social conditions and the socio-cultural reality; emancipatory, co-operative, humanistic, universal; experimental, open to life and the real world; that develops self-esteem, self-confidence and sense of responsibility; that recognizes, respects and integrates all students (their intelligence, creativity and ability to progress); that is not based on the fear of failure, but on the enthusiasm and interest in learning; that links students with nature; that eliminates the ‘every one for him/herself’ and promotes the power of solidarity and complementarity; that balances the opening of the mind to abstract knowledge with handy intelligence and concrete creativity; that promote awareness of the human identity and condition, and the development of genuine social and political consciousness; and that can awaken the beauty and sense of responsibility towards life.

An Alternative Education Model that has significant effects against individualism, conformity, indifference, ‘globalisation’ and social and political apathy. Furthermore, an Alternative Education Model that can result in a counterweight against misleading advertising and propaganda (manipulation of language) on social media (particularly TV), that alienates and immobilises people, neutralises and domesticates, fragments and breaks them and above all, negates their capacity for reflection and criticism. The vehicles of choice for the colonization of the imaginary are: TV + movies + videos (games and clips) + press. Single, one-dimensional thinking (consumerism) and ‘personal opinions’ are standardised and socialised and everybody assumes as their own the media message. Thus, society is trivialised and nothing seems important; the nature, structure and the historic development of society, economy and politics are ignored. We passively contemplate the appropriation and abduction of knowledge, the processes of decision-making and political power.

In fact, society spends more on publicity and marketing than on education. Society gradually hijacks democratic and republican values both in youths as in adults, and reduces them from citizens to mere consumers.

The priority of TALE Alternative Education Model is quality and relevance of education: ‘deep learning‘; critical and creative thinking; inquiry, problem solving and solution building (socio-cultural and environmental context); collaboration and teamwork; rigorous and coherent communication, meaningful reading and structured writing; Lifelong learning and self-learning; competence development; self-esteem and motivation; sense of responsibility.(1)

It is imperative to develop TALE Alternative Education Model, that corresponds to specific historical and social conditions, in which academic learning, besides allowing seeking employment, becomes a way to develop a complete human being, to promote awareness of the human identity and condition, to develop a genuine social and political consciousness, to awaken the beauty and sense of responsibility towards life, and to allow for a participatory, interactive and collaborative learning.

The priority of the secular TALE Alternative Education Model is quality and relevance of education.

In short, an Alternative Education Model based on the principles and values ​​of secularism, respect, dignity, humanism, non-discrimination, tolerance, equality, justice, participatory democracy, social solidarity, interculturality; on respect for nature; the rejection of all forms of violence; on the empowerment of women and gender equality; artistic creativity, and superior ethics and unwavering integrity.

TALE Alternative Education Centre

  1. Participatory, Interactive and Collaborative Learning (PIC-Learning)
  2. The 6 Axes of Learning: science and technology; language and communication; the arts; preventive health, nutrition and sport; the environment (and agroecology); community empowerment/sustainable development/participatory democracy
  3. Online/Blended Learning (OnLearning)
  4. Alternative Health Community Centre and Education Programme
  5. Agroecological Farm (EcoFarm)
  6. Cultural and Training Centre (CCTC)
  7. Ecological and energy-efficient infrastructure
  8. 4-year Alternative Accelerated Primary Education (AAPE): quality and pertinence
  9. Secondary and Technical-professional Education with innovative exit options
  10. Education management with effective community Co-responsibility and involvement

TALE Alternative Education Model-Diagram

4-year Alternative Accelerated Primary Education (AAPE)

In the Community Centre for Sustainable Development (ComCentre) education begins with:

i. The cycle of 4-year Alternative Accelerated Primary Education (AAPE), with boarding for girls aged 9-15 years old (first entry: 9 to 12 years of age) specifically coming from the rural areas with greatest social exclusion.

ii. It continues with 6-year Cycle of Secondary Education (Basic and Diversified), with boarding for girls and adolescents from 11 to 21 years old (first entry: 11 to 15 years of age), with innovative and pertinent technical-professional exit options, which are responsive to labour market demands and the social needs in rural areas.

TALE Alternative Education Centre will also serve some boys and male teenagers from the local community (without boarding).

Although statistics show high levels of enrolment for primary education ( > 95%), in reality, in rural areas enrolment continues to be quiet modest and of low quality, with high educational exclusion of rural indigenous population.

TALE Project will establish a 4-year Alternative Accelerated Primary Education Model (AAPE) (quality and pertinence), with boarding for girls aged 9-15 years old (first entry: 9 to 12 years of age), specifically coming from the rural areas with greatest social exclusion. The quality and relevance of education is a function of the contribution of the educational process to both human development, and the cultural, social and economic sustainable development of the community.

It is a ‘disruptive innovation’, a ‘radically transforming’ proposal, and a realistic strategy and solution for countries with high levels of social exclusion, which could have an impact on different communities, regions and developing countries (worldwide).

Indeed, it is a breakthrough, a ‘paradigm change‘, because the educational system has remained largely unchanged since the late Eighteenth century, when in Prussia education became compulsory and free, tax-funded, with a scholastic cycle of eight years for all children between 5 and 13 years-of-age (Volksschule).To date, in Primary Education traditional educational methods remain (passive learning, memorization and individualism) with fragmented and encyclopaedic content. The widespread socio-economic shortages in developing countries require adopting strategies and solutions that streamline and ‘modulate’ the use of (very) scarce resources.

Nonetheless, there is no theoretical or practical reason, no empirical evidence for primary education to remain trapped in that ‘straitjacket‘, which means a long, deficient, unproductive and costly cycle of 6 years, often without relevance or quality, especially in backward countries and communities, with high levels of social exclusion.

The proposed programme of 4 years for the level of Alternative Accelerated Primary Education is justified based on two criteria:

i. The actual number of days of class: 880 days of class/4 years (220 days/year x 4 years), which is much higher than the actual average class days per year of rural primary schools and the vast majority of urban primary schools ( < 600-720 days/6 years, < 100-120 days/year )

ii. Independent standardized test results applied to TALE students when they finalize the Alternative Accelerated Primary Education cycle, both in absolute terms and compared with the average results of traditional Primary Education nationally [expected to be much higher]

  • Continuous Formative Assessment, with individual and collective periodic adaptations and adjustments.
  • Automatic Promotion of all students in the EPAA cycle.

The Participatory, Interactive and Collaborative Learning process requires the use of one or two tablets (laptops) for each group of 4 students, sitting around a table (rather than individual desks).

School Calendar and Timetable

  • School Calendar:
    • January (2nd Monday) to November (3rd Friday) of each year
    • Nominally: 42 weeks/year
    • 220 days/year
  • Class days per year:  220 days/year

Increase to 220 the number of class days per year

  • Students’ ‘Family visit‘ and teaching staff’ leave: approx. once a month
    • Visit for 3 ½ days:  Thursday a.m. to Sunday p.m.: February/April and August/October
    • Visit for 10 ½ days: June

[compensating classes on Saturdays, and adjusting for/taking advantage of holidays]

  • School Timetable:

Monday – Saturday [minus 3 days/month for ‘students’ ‘Family visit’] 07:4511 – 11:30 & 13:30 – 17:15

  • 1h 45mins./session
  • 7 hours/day for learning – academic/artistic/sport activities

[no homework/duties/after-class extracurricular activities)

  • 2 sessions of 1 hour 45 minutes in the morning shift and 2 sessions in the afternoon shift, with a 15 minute break between each session
  • 220 days/year
  • 1540 hours/year
  • Distribution of the four daily learning sessions, following the 6 Axes of Learning:
    • Session 1:  Science and technology
    • Session 2:  Language and communication (including native and foreign languages)
    • Session 3:  The arts / Preventive health, nutrition and sport [on alternate days]
    • Session 4:  The environment (and agroecology) / Community empowerment/sustainable development/participatory democracy [on alternate days]

  1. The quality and relevance of education is a function of the contribution of the educational process to both human development, and the cultural, social and economic sustainable development of the community. []