Selected Moments of the 20th Century

A work in progress edited by Daniel Schugurensky
Department of Adult Education, Community Development and Counselling Psychology,
The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT)



Rosa Maria Torres sends an open letter to all school children


On June 2, 1991, the newspaper El Comercio (Quito, Ecuador) published an open letter to school children written by Rosa Maria Torres. This short, powerful and beautiful text immediately struck a chord across the world; very soon it was published in various journals and bulletins, and subsequently translated into several other languages, including Portuguese, English and French. In 1992, the open letter was included in "Reflexiones sobre Pedagogia" (Papeles del CEAAL, No. 2, Santiago de Chile). By 1993, the letter was incorporated in the collection "Rincones de Lectura" ("Reading Corners") of the Ministry of Education in Mexico (which was distributed to all rural schools in the country), and in the same year it was printed on the back cover of primary school textbooks in Bolivia. In 1995, the open letter was published in English by the Education Cluster of UNICEF in Education News No. 11 (New York).

Open Letter to School Children

Dear children:

There are many things you should know about, and I am going to tell you about these things in this letter, so that you know what to do in school, and what to expect from it, from your teachers and classmates. You have probably been told what you are supposed to do, that is, what your duties are: behave yourself, respect your teachers and classmates, do your homework, keep your notebooks tidy and up to date, come to class clean, be nice to everybody. But here we won't talk about your duties, which you already know, but rather about the things that others must do for you. We are going to talk about your rights.

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