Bonus Post: Peru´s Educational System
As promised, here is our quick bonus blog post on Peru´s educational system!
According to Melecio, education in Peru is pretty terrible (which is not surprising in a developing country). Chile, Peru´s neighbor to the south, is considered to be 20 years ahead of Peru in educational terms. So what makes Peru so bad?
(1). Technology, or the lack thereof
When Melecio graduated high school in 1999, there was only one computer in the entire school, and it was considered a luxury that they had it. Students weren´t allowed to touch it, of course, but it was still a thrill to gather around and watch other people touch it. Throughout most of the 2000s, computers remained scarce. Until four or five years ago, the only way to use a computer was to go to an Internet cafe, and no one had personal computers at their homes. Computer literacy was very low, and people could barely type. That´s changing now, but computer usage and other technological developments that could be used to improve education are still lacking in many parts of the country.
(2). Lack of Teacher Qualifications
Lack of human resources seems to be a theme in Peru. Because there aren´t enough certified teachers, underqualified people are allowed to take on the position, despite the fact that they really have little to no understanding of their assigned subjects. The problems here are obvious.
Because so few teachers have a firm grasp of their subject, education is confined mostly to the realms of memorization and book learning (in the sense that a lesson may be comprised solely of a teacher reading to the class out of a textbook). There is no emphasis either on investigating or problem solving, so students aren´t encouraged to think for themselves.
To address the problem, the Ministry of Education implemented a series of national exams to raise the level of education and compare the various districts. Of course, because each district sets its own standards and has been taxed with actually implementing the reforms, the quality of education continues to vary depending on how corrupt the municipal government is and how poor the region is. Only 2 districts in all of Peru actually were actually up to standard on the most recent series of tests (Arequipa and Tacna) in both reading and math. Lima was in 15th place.
That´s all for this bonus post, be sure to check out today´s post, The Calm Before the Storm, for more updates!