An early restart of face-to-face classes in Venezuelan education is announced from power. Such an important step must be preceded and accompanied by specific guidelines and essential biosafety measures with budgetary support that transcends the flag salute.
The pandemic has very serious consequences, also in education, and distance classes have problems such as Internet service failures. According to the world Speedtest index, Venezuela ranks 166th out of 175 countries studied. It is carried out mainly by cell phones with an unstable signal, its penetration reaches only 43% of the population, but only 45% of teachers have a smartphone and nine out of ten are not technologically sufficiently trained to adapt content to digital platforms.
A recent report by the Academy of Physical, Mathematical and Natural Sciences highlights this serious digital divide whose impact on the social divide by worsening inequality cannot be underestimated, because the depth and breadth of our crisis precedes Covid 19 and even to any measure of foreign governments influential in and in turn influenced by a national cadre that overwhelms here and scandalizes abroad.
Between 2014 and 2019, the Venezuelan GDP was reduced to a quarter of what it was, which explains an impoverishment spread to all sectors. All levels of the educational system have been affected by, the academics report, a decline in quality, in the school feeding program, infrastructure and the dramatic drop in teacher remuneration. Compare the salaries of teachers in Uruguay and Brazil of XNUMX dollars a month with the two or three that their Venezuelan equivalents received at the end of last year.
Encovi, the study I cited earlier, tells us that before the pandemic only 28% received food on a daily basis. When the schools were closed, "28% of children under 5 years of age are at risk of chronic malnutrition and 21% in global malnutrition." We have the highest overall weight / age malnutrition in South America.
It is not surprising that since the university less and less can be done to respond to these very serious social demands, if the public institutions of higher education, intentionally stifled, receive budgets that barely cover 2% of their needs.
Educating in Venezuela is heroic.