The Education Reform: a pending issue in Panama

Noticias PTY24.com
  • Noticias PTY24.com

The last attempt to establish an education reform in Panama was made in 1979, during the military government and so far remains a pending issue.

At that time, teachers' unions and some political groups opposed the proposal for the modernization of education.

By that time, the changes were regarded as communists leading to a great national movement of rejection.

A teacher strike that lasted more than three months meant that the reform was dismissed in its entirety, but no work was done either on a replacement or on the modernization of curricula for the preparation of students.

Since then, the curriculum has received partial changes, but the system remains the same for decades.

Different organizations and social sectors have attempted to promote and request a reform that adapts to the labor and growth needs of Panama.

For example, director executive of Fudesteam Marvin Castillo recently claimed that Panamanian children and young people continue to be educated for the twenty-first century with study programs that in the last century were backward and outdated.

After several decades of rejection of changes in educational plans, Marvin Castillo, a young Panamanian director of Fundesteam, a group focused on the development of robotics, said that the time has come for Panama to open the debate for an education reform.

Castillo questions that in the 21st century Panamanians continue to educate their children with curricula that were already backward in the last century. "This is not productive and illogical," he says.

The representative of Fundesteam proposes a radical change in the curriculum. We have to eliminate memory-learning plans that are still used at schools and national schools, he said.

His proposal is aimed at the development of national education programs on pillars such as science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. "We are already late," he warns, "other countries have already done so and have seen results in their education systems."

Some experts believe that just as a great deal of national consensus was achieved with the Panama Canal issue, it must be done in education area.

The educational reform could be introduced in the National Assembly and be a law of the Republic so that it can become mandatory once established as an agreement between parents, teachers, civil society and even deputies representing the national political sector.

He considers that although it is apparently difficult to carry out an education reform, it should not be, because the majority of Panamanians agree that it is necessary to modernize this sector of the country.

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