Secondary schools facing the challenge of universalization: Debates and experiences in Argentina

Myriam Southwell


In 2006 Argentina established compulsory secondary schooling, joining the regional trend. During that process a significant debate was developed about whether the school is universalizable with the characteristics that it currently presents, the product of a long historical process that has consolidated a functioning matrix. Does the school present the characteristics that make it feasible to successfully cover all social classes, all cultures, and all school trajectories? This debate focuses on speeches about inclusion within a country that had promoted an egalitarian school system since its inception, building an equivalence between equality, inclusion and homogeneity. The durability of this discourse and how the consecrated school format– in school everyday life and in the social image – is an obstacle in itself for the universalization of schooling. This configuration was very productive in that system, even though it was not exempt from the stratification and class bias marking school culture that has assumed in other countries. This article summarizes some axes of that debate produced in the last decade in Argentina. We present two new school modalities – one as an initiative of specific educational policies and the another as a result of autonomous community processes – that have developed innovative institutional formats to make possible the schooling of diverse school populations.


school pattern; secondary universalization; anti-hegemonic models


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Copyright (c) 2020 Myriam Southwell


Contact EPAA//AAPE at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College