Ramon Cardozo: Paraguay’s Iconic Teacher – OpEd

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ABC Color Newspaper, Paraguay  published on May 19 the full biography of Ramon I. Cardozo, a great Paraguayan teacher, by César Cristaldo. Cardozo is the son of Villarica and is known nationwide as an intelligent teacher who instilled in his students the sense of nationhood and founded the idea of having an independent Paraguayan education system.

Cardozo was a professor of history, teaching pedagogy in the professional school of teachers in Villarrica. His work in the education of the early XX century has proved to be essential up to this day in Paraguay. Prof. Cardozo became the director general of schools in Asuncion, 1924 and produced the most important education bibliography in the country including works such as, “Pedagogy of the Normal School.”

The Director General of Schools, from Guaira, Ramon Indalecio Cardozo (1876-1943) developed the Plan of Primary Education Reform in 1924, and produced the most important national bibliography in educational issues: “Pedagogy of the Normal School”; “Pestalozzi and contemporary education “, “New strategies in contemporary education “; “The Paraguayan,” in 3 volumes; “Pedagogy of the Active School,” in 3 volumes. In 1933 Cardozo developed a new curriculum for Normal Schools. Then he embarked in historical research. Later he published “Guaira: history of the origins of Villarrica” and “Melgarejo, the founder of Villarrica”. According to Dr. Emilio Uzcátegui, former head of the UNESCO mission in Paraguay, due to his “research in education on Paraguay, but indeed it has an outstanding regional value and that makes Cardozo to be considered as an educator of Americas…”.

According to several biographers, spiritual formation of this master was shaped in Villarrica a city of “culture and a wealth of history,” the hometown of many talented artists and intellectuals at the turn of the century. After completing his training at the National School of the Capital and the Normal School of Asuncion, Ramon I. Cardozo began his teaching along with other illustrious teachers: Atanasio Riera, Simeón Carísimo, José del Rosario Rojas, Nicolás E. Sardi, Virgilio Barrios, Carlos Ventura de Permi.

In those classrooms Cardozo shaped a close friendship with the extraordinary teacher, Delfín Chamorro, with whom established in 1902 the newspaper Libre where he regularly published lectures and research papers that would complement the vacuum created from the lack of reference texts and public libraries. Besides being a history professor, Cardozo also taught Education at the Normal School of Villarrica, with efficient methods that were soon highlighted for consideration by the scientific community of the country.

Thanks to Cardozo’s successful methods, the Paraguayan Government had the highest levels of education, that were unparalleled in the region at the beginning of 1900s. Asuncion, decided to promote him and was appointed to lead the schooling system. Although he was successful and a bright teacher, his fellow party associates (the Liberal Party-PLRA) did not appreciate and value his qualities of being an education expert and administrator.

Ramon Cardozo passed away in Buenos Aires, in 1943.

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