The pandemic has shown “a stagnation” of the social elevator function of the education and has uncovered the need to reinforce aid to families with difficulties, as reflected in the latest annual report of the Ombudsman.
In its management report for 2020, delivered this Thursday to Parliament, the institution dedicates an extensive chapter to the education system in the face of the covid, one of the issues for which received more than 2,500 complaints, the highest number after immigration, justice and employment.
“The pandemic has shown a stagnation in the function of the social elevator, which education had been carrying out, exposing the limiting nature with which it acts. This is the case that many families suffer from not having sufficient resources to obtain the means that allow their children have access on equal terms with others of different income levels “, he emphasizes.
Among the major concerns expressed is the academic impact due to the suspension of face-to-face classes and not having the means and knowledge to follow the course electronically.
Technological means for teaching and learning
The Ombudsman, despite the investments made in 2020 in teacher training and technological equipment, points out that the pandemic has shown that “more investment is needed.”
“In the current reality, any person who intends to access the educational system must necessarily have access to an electronic device (computers or tablets) and a connection with a reasonable bandwidth,” he stresses.
Not having to pay for a digital book multiple times
The Ombudsman advocates ensuring that the centers publish their educational projects before the admission process to guarantee the right to free choice of the center and intervene when “they impose the acquisition of a specific product, excluding other alternatives.”
Through complaints, the institution has verified that many centers have opted for digital books that require the payment of the license to access the complementary material -Audios of activities or support videos-, which expires at the end of the course. This prevents it from being used by the same student if they repeat it or give it to a brother or friend.
Under current education law, textbooks must be valid for four years.
Although many centers negotiate with publishers so that the digital license is extended for four years, in other cases it is the duration offered by publishers (one course). This forces families with several children or when their children repeat a grade to “pay for the same book several times.”
He proposes to record the classes
In general, he adds, parents question the blended modality implemented in Secondary, Baccalaureate, FP and other teachings because they understand that violates the right to equal education and criticize the digital divide that this situation will generate, as not all families can buy devices for online activity.
In this regard, the Institution asks the administrations to provide the necessary digital resources and means and suggests the transmission or recording of classes by teachers, both for groups that have reduced face-to-face hours and for those who have their attendance to face-to-face classes temporarily suspended -for quarantine- or for the entire course -for risky pathologies or living with people who are sensitive to the virus.