La creación del Consejo Nacional de Educación y su impacto en el gobierno educativo de las provincias (Argentina, 1882-1894) : de la propuesta sarmientina a la hibridación de normas y prácticas de gobierno escolar


Suasnábar, Silvio Claudio

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215 p.


Atribución-NoComercial-SinDerivadas 2.0 Genérica (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)






This research analyzes the impact of the creation of the National Council of Education (1881) on the government organization of provincial education systems. Specifically, it investigates the proposals of educational government in tension and the conflicts aroused among the national and provincial actors regarding the definition of the bodies with technical-political and administrative-financial attributions over the common schools, during the years in which Benjamin Zorrilla occupied the presidency of said council (1882-1894).

It is possible to identify two models of government education that sought to hegemonize school practices in this historical context: the "Sarmientino" model and the "triumphant" model. The first one proposed a decentralized and democratic institutional engineering with tendencies to the atomization and distribution of power. The second model, which crystallized in the Common Education Law No. 1420 - and later in the Lainez Law (1905) - promoted, instead, a marked centralization of power.

Since its foundation in 1881, and through the subsidy program, the National Council of Education exerted a strong influence on the educational policy of the provinces. This financing policy functioned as a privileged instance for the diffusion of the "triumphant" model of government. While there is ample literature on the outcome of the contest between both models of government, and the consequent process of centralization of power that was recorded in the field of the Argentine school administration from the last decades of the nineteenth century, this work It suggests that the centripetal tendencies did not operate on an institutional vacuum, but on multiple and diverse provincial traditions in education, generating resistance processes - as particular as contradictory - in each territory.

One of the central purposes that guided our inquiry was to know the dynamics of the constitution process of the school system in each territory, determining the role fulfilled by the local actors and the extent to which the path followed by each jurisdiction approached or moved away from the guidelines established by the CNE. We were interested in identifying the degree of consensus and conflict among local, provincial and national actors, in which the process of defining the governance structure for each subnational education system had been developed. As a result of the empirical inquiry, a taxonomy of school governance models was created, composed of three categories: a) national interventionist; b) of centralizing tendency with local rooting; and c) decentralizing-participative trend.

The main conclusions of this work are organized around four main points. On the one hand, the evidence found indicates that at the height of the process of "reduction to political unity" that mitrismo initiated in 1860, an absolutely opposite movement took place in the national educational field: the Sotomayor reforms. These reforms, based on Sarmiento's political-educational precepts, constituted the first interprovincial school organization project.

Secondly, since the creation of the CNE in 1881, we have observed a contradiction between the discourse of its main actors (national inspectors, Benjamín Zorrilla) and the institutional intervention agenda. Thus, in the discursive-normative plane, the hegemony of the Sarmient model of school governance is confirmed. In terms of practice, on the contrary, we identify a set of practices that are not oriented to the pedagogical or political-educational, almost exclusively linked to the economic - the school box and its management - and subordinated to the logic of political confrontation between the national government and the provincial governments.

Thirdly, it is stated that during the founding period of the National Education Council - in which Benjamin Zorrilla held his presidency (1882-1894) -, the national government's educational strategy towards the provinces was organized as a policy to reinforce the process of political centralization experienced in Argentina, within the framework of growth and boom of the central / national government. In this context, and with the objective of limiting the autonomy of the provincial political powers and achieving their subordination to the national government, the National Council of Education promoted different and varied school policies that did not acquire the form of a homogeneous government model for education - identifiable underlying the policies promoted under its breath in the provinces. The achievement of this supreme political objective was pursued by favoring and promoting school policies of various kinds (centralization, deconcentration, strengthening of local areas, omission of government problems, etc.), in which contradictions and discontinuities are observed rather than a coherent homogeneity that allows us to circumscribe a prototypical "school governance model" of the CNE.

Finally, our inquiry suggests that the institutionalization of local educational government structures (district and municipal) was only possible in those provinces whose communal political organization was developed. In these cases, the existing educational structures - which condensed important attributions at the local level -, resisted the centralizing impact of the 1980s, by virtue of the favorable relationship of forces possessed by the local political structures themselves with respect to the provincial government itself. The logic of social and political organization prior to the school reforms promoted by the CNE defined the fate of the educational government model adopted, that is, the profile assumed by the school organization. The remnants of the Confederate period and the local tradition built in those years acted, presumably, as a sieve that neutralized in many cases the policies promoted by the CNE.

Título obtenido

Doctor de la Universidad de Buenos Aires en Ciencias Sociales

Institución otorgante

Universidad de Buenos Aires. Facultad de Ciencias Sociales

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