The Chamber of Senators of Paraguay decided on Thursday to reject the request of interpellation to the Education Minister, Eduardo Petta, to explain the reasons for the lack of teachers in about 2,000 public education centers, two months after the beginning of the classes.
The request came from the National Federation of Secondary Students (Fenaes), which last Wednesday processed this petition before Congress to demand explanations from Petta about the deficiencies of the education system.
The proposal needed 23 votes to get ahead, but only 20 senators spoke in favor of challenging Petta, including the president of the Chamber, Silvio Ovelar, and Senator Enrique Bacchetta, both of the Colorado Party government, as the minister.
During the treatment, Bachetta proposed that Petta could answer the questions of the benches in writing, but his initiative did not prosper either.
The session also brought out the quarrels between Senator Blanca Ovelar of the Colorado Party and the Minister of Education, over the confrontation with her sister, Nancy Ovelar, a former education minister and dismissed for the fight with Petta.
The owner of the educational portfolio then accused Ovelar of being involved in a situation of conflict of interest, since her husband's company was carrying out works for the Ministry.
The senator spoke in favor of the interpellation to the minister to have the opportunity to listen to his "hollow and fallacious rhetoric."
She was also in favor of questioning the minister in Congress, Guasu Front Senator Esperanza Martínez, who recalled that the request came from "students and teachers".
"What better opportunity does the minister have to come and answer questions?" Martinez said.
However, the Senate's decision will save Petta his statement before Congress and will avoid giving explanations to the demands of students and teachers.
The students integrated into the Fenaes have been denouncing these deficiencies for days and criticizing the minister for not having calculated in advance the number of teacher retirements due to retirement, which is supposed to be one of the reasons why thousands of students have lost their class.
Petta was named in the position by the current president of the country, Mario Abdo Benítez, of the Colorado Party, with the purpose of making education "a national cause" through state policies.
The minister is being accused by the students and by the guild of inoperative and ignore the educational reality of the country.
According to data from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) for 2015, Paraguay invests 4.28% of its GDP in the education sector, below the minimum of 7% recommended by Unesco.