Beginning of the School Year 2021: Challenges and proposals to ensure the right to education
Lima, March 15: According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, every child and adolescent has the right to receive education, and the State must ensure accessibility conditions with equal opportunities. Since the health emergency declaration due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the physical closure of schools, the education of children and adolescents is not the same. Their educational process was interrupted, and distance education has not been able to ensure substantive learning. As an example of this, according to Save the Children’s Global Study “Protecting a Generation”, in Peru, more than two-thirds of the children interviewed (69%) consider that they are learning less since the beginning of the pandemic. A similar percentage of adults (83.3%) agree with this situation. Likewise, 1 out of 4 parents says they do not believe or are not sure if their children will return to school.
On the other hand, according to a report by Inversión en la Infancia, 110,405 regular basic education students moved from private to public schools. It also states that the Network of Urban and Rural Municipalities of Peru (Remurpe), records that out of 500 targeted local governments, 462 reported difficulties in accessing the Aprendo en Casa (I Learn at Home) programs promoted by the Ministry of Education (Minedu). Additionally, it is noted that 268 of these local governments were from rural areas and were requesting an extension of coverage for radio, TV or Internet. According to the Institute of Statistics and Informatics (INEI), only 5.6% of the rural population has Internet access, and only 40.1% of households have Internet access. In addition to this information, according to data from the Ministry of Education, last year 300,000 students were left without education due to lack of equipment, basic services and Internet access, which prevented them from accessing distance education.
It’s not all bad news
The Ministry of Education established the Good Return to School Year 2021 in 3 phases: 1) I learn at home, which will continue with the distance modality through the use of tablets; 2) I learn at school, which will be given in a semi-presential or face-to-face modality according to the conditions established by the Ministry of Health (MINSA); and 3) I learn in the community, where the interaction between teacher and student will continue. Likewise, MINSA informed that public and private school teachers are considered for phase 2 of the National Vaccination Plan.
Considering the commitment undertaken by the Peruvian State in Sustainable Development Goal 4 for inclusive and equitable education that promotes lifelong learning opportunities for all, from Save the Children we call on the State and the educational community so that, taking into account the lessons learned in the 2020 school year, they improve the quality of the educational services by adopting the following measures:
- Reduction of the digital divide among students and focusing efforts on developing policies that ensure connectivity, with particular emphasis on rural and urban-marginalized areas.
- Provision of electronic equipment (tablets, cell phones, laptops) during the emergency, prioritizing resources to benefit the most vulnerable children and adolescents.
- Develop actions to guarantee the school reinsertion of those 300,000 students who were left out of the educational system. Likewise, ensure the continuity of education for pregnant students and mothers.
- Implementation of actions to reduce the learning gaps caused by COVID-19.
- Access to basic sanitation services and hygiene supplies in educational institutions so that they are prepared for a risk-free return to school.
- Building of teachers’ capacities to use technologies, digital platforms and play skills, and promotion of pedagogical practices that include emotional support, self-care, and prevention of COVID-19.
- Promotion of spaces for listening and participation to gather the needs, feelings and concerns of children regarding the education they receive during the school year.
- Ensure continuous dissemination of information on the instances of protection against any form of violence, including preventive actions, in the programming of Aprendo en Casa.
- Establish a larger and better budget to guarantee accessible and quality education in the context of COVID-19.