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Civil Society in Latin America is increasingly mobilizing to improve education quality. It is interesting to note the growing use of mass social media campaigns to influence education policy debates. This week, we have observed a very good example from the Dominican Republic.
In the coming weeks, the Economic and Social Council will meet to approve a “National Agreement for Education Reform” that promotes efforts to improve the very low levels of performance of Dominican schools.
Within the framework of the national agreement, EDUCA (Business Action for Education) sought to promote a national debate among the public and the political and social actors responsible for the content of the agreement. EDUCA is thus promoting the publicity campaign, “Better Teachers, Better Citizens, Better Country!” This multimedia campaign features a video, two radio ads, posters and news articles, a Facebook page and Twitter feed, as well as a voluntary petition to authorities by concerned citizens through the website change.org.
EDUCA has worked with major media companies, newspapers, and TV and radio talk shows to disseminate information and create spaces for the public to access and learn about the positions taken in support of more effective teaching.
The campaign seeks to mobilize public opinion in support of more stringent requirements for entry into all of the country’s teacher training programs; the development of training and tutoring programs for current teachers; performance-based teacher salaries, and independent technical assessments of teacher performance.
This campaign has similar counterparts in other countries in the region, such as Chile and Brazil. The use of modern social media strategies in pursuit of educational reform is becoming a reality in Latin America.