Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Who was Francisco Pascasio Moreno?
I decided to write about this educator when my little sister had to look for information about him for a school project. The name had not rung a bell for either of us but when we realised he was known as “Perito” Moreno, we knew he was really important in our history due to the glacier, the town and the National Park in Santa Cruz.
Francisco Moreno was a scientist, an explorer, an educator, a politician and a “perito” (which means expert or specialist) in Argentina. He was born in 1852 in Buenos Aires and he was interested in nature at a very young age. He founded a Natural History Museum in the city, he embarked on different scientific expeditions to the Patagonia and discovered many rivers, lakes and even Mount Fitz Roy. He is well known for the role he played when he defended Argentina against Chile in relation to the boundary disputes between the neighbouring countries.
Francisco was also genuinely interested in children education. He became vice-president of the National Committee of Education in Argentina and one of his main contributions was “La Obra Patria”. It was an institution of social inclusion whose main aim was to provide shelter to poor children to teach them school subjects and also different skills so that they could have a job later on. Moreno pointed out that if the State made the child go to school, then the State itself had to feed and support him when parents were not able to do it. Today, more than a hundred years later, this is something that still needs to be taken into account. Primary school and also now secondary school are compulsory, however, families find it extremely difficult to afford children’s education. Moreno later created another institution, the first Argentinian Boy Scouts Association. He claimed that it was a useful means of stimulating students’ interests in nature and of transmitting values such as honour, loyalty, humbleness and love.
Perito Moreno also considered that Adult education was of great importance. He presented two projects in the National Committee. First, he proposed building “Evening Schools for Adults” to give people the opportunity to learn skills and crafts according to their needs. Later, he suggested the project of “Schools for Cinderella” in which teachers could go from house to house to teach girls and young women who had to stay home to take care of their children or younger siblings. Consequently, what Francisco did was to provide adults with centres of cultural and practical learning to give a possibility to improve their individual growth. Now, this is also absolutely necessary in our society, especially for adults who did not have the chance to study before.
In view of this, we can conclude that this educator paved the way for further developments in education and also paid attention to key issues that still have to be considered these days. “Where schools and work reign, prisons close.” said Moreno.