Just as we visited schools all over Chile, we spent the past week visiting Public schools in Buenos Aires. One of the most memorable was a Dance Academy public high school that allowed students interested in dance to achieve all of their necessary school requirements in the morning, then take dance classes until 7pm at night. We had the chance to observe a folkloric dance class and it seemed like such a special place. Many students need to be active, thus having a chance to channel such energy through dance is really special. We also had a chance to speak with the students and it was surprising because I assumed they all wanted to grow up to be dancers, but the majority were interested in other careers like medicine or politics, and dance was a hobby that made them happy.
Another school we visited in Buenos Aires was a technical high school with various tracts including carpentry, gastronomy, marketing, steel work, and more. This was also a unique school because students would have normal classes in the morning and then have training in their trade in the afternoons. It seemed to me like such a great opportunity for high schoolers to learn such trades as a young age because it gives them work experience and talents that they can use in the future if they desire to do so. The students seemed happy and interested in the work they were doing, but the only complaint that I heard was that they had to choose their “career” in their second year, and often students end up choosing a tract that they don’t like as much as another, but they cannot switch. The publicity tract was especially interesting because students learned about graphic design and branding and creating an image: skills that are useful in many jobs nowadays. Another beautiful tract that we observed was that of fashion in which they created beautiful sketches and even more stunning dresses and backpacks!
Another school that we visited was the only one of its kind that I’ve ever seen, which was a school for re-integration that was originally created for transgender students, but is now open to all students. The professor with whom we spoke was a transgender woman and discussed with us their emphasis on teaching inclusive curriculum and creating a community for their students. The school felt more like a home, because of all the work that the teachers and staff put into the development of the school.
Lenguas Vivas, an elite public school, known for its students’ proficiency in foreign languages upon graduation was a surprise for me. I was placed here to conduct my research, and even before I went, my host family and Argentinian friends told me how exclusive and elite the school is. While it is free of cost as a public school, students are accepted based on the entrance exam that they are required to take. Such an entrance exam relates to the fact that the majority of students’ families have higher incomes because the students that pass the test often hace more resources.
Overall, it has been very interesting to visit and learn about the Public School System in Argentina, especially because one can go through the entire education system in Argentina without paying a dime, and that is unique.