Kids fainting, increasing absences, and cuts of academic days are some of the problems in the school system of the South American country
Venezuela's crisis not only generates food and medicine shortages, it also triggers a wave of school dropouts that have forced children and young people to leave the classroom for lack of basic supplies or for the need to earn money to bring something home. In the South American country, for children of the rural or more vulnerable sectors, it is becoming increasingly difficult to finish the school year, according to El Universal. There are several reasons for that: economic crisis, nutritional deficiencies that impede learning and structural deterioration in educational facilities.
According to Olga Ramos, member of the board of directors of the Assembly of Education of Venezuela (Asamblea de Educación de Venezuela, in Spanish), to buy a basic list of school supplies for a public school child, a parent earning the minimum wage would have to save his/her full income for three years .
The basic list of school supplies that does not include uniforms or shoes, explained Ramos in an interview with the program La Tarde of NTN24, is estimated at 194 million bolivars. Currently, the minimum wage in Venezuela is 5 million 196 thousand bolivars, that is, 1.79 dollars. Therefore, for families with several children and basic income, it is almost impossible to cover the school expenses of the children.
Although there are no official figures on the number of children who have left the classrooms in recent years, the Assembly of Education indicated that in the border areas it is where the dropout rate has increased the most. This is due to the migration of families, economic needs and educational and infrastructure deficiencies in educational institutions.
Dropout or desertion?
To understand the school crisis that exists in Venezuela, one must first differentiate between dropping out and desertion. As Ramos explains, desertion happens when the student does not return the following school year to the institution. In the case of the dropout, the student may leave for school season, absent from one to three times a week in the classrooms or is forced to cut his/her study hours.
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This last scenario is the most recurrent in Venezuela, mainly in the public sector. Due to the situation in the country, and according to Ramos, the government has stopped granting study aids such as food, transportation, uniforms or money for the maintenance and improvement of educational facilities.
For a long time, families could guarantee a complete feeding for their children by sending them to school, but now the institutions have stopped doing so and as an alternative, they are forced to reduce the academic day. In addition to this, the lack of water, constant power cuts during study hours, as well as the desertion of teachers who leave the educational system to seek other sources of income due to the low salaries of their profession, make it increasingly lower the intensity of the hours that the students receive, according to a press release from the Educational Assembly of Venezuela.
The Assembly of Education of Venezuela has denounced that minors do not even have the physical energy to attend school. Some of those who can still attend class faint in the classroom after being sent without breakfast. Another percentage of students is forced to stay in their homes due to lack of money or transportation options to get to school, or they must stay at home or go out to work with their parents to put at least one meal on the table.
How do schools face the crisis?
According to explanations by Olga Ramos, the Ministry of Education of Venezuela has not taken measures to respond to the scourge. In the case of private schools, the crisis is mitigated by compensating educational failure with extracurricular attention. But in public entities, this alternative is not possible, which makes it more difficult to guarantee a comprehensive education for children who do not have the physical and economic conditions to receive essential educational background.
LatinAmerican Post | Krishna Jaramillo
Translated from "Abandono escolar: En las aulas de clase se refleja la crisis de Venezuela"