“We need to know that school is a place to learn, it is a place to spend time with our friends, it is a place to play. I hope that throughout this school year you will be happy at school, learn a lot“, expressed the secretary of education Leticia Ramírez Amaya when starting a tour of the basic education schools a week after the start of the school year and in the face of the problem of school dropouts generated by Covid 19, she stated that “We all have a task and that task is: we have to see who has not returned to school, who is missing. We need you to be here. We go for those children to their houses. Each teacher, each principal is going to make sure that each one of our classmates is in school. Here we want them. It is the place where all girls and boys should be.”
The approach was harshly criticized on social networks by some teachers who say that it is the officials and politicians who go after these children, however, the truth is that it is the teachers who know these children, who have had contact with them, those who could more easily do that job, as Governor Rubén Rocha Moya expressed it in the weekly conference last Monday, and not exactly because it is an order from the SEP or because they are going to pay them more, but because they are your students and are part of the school community. It is a matter of vocation, more than of orders or paymentsas teacher Mario Zaragoza would say when he went to convince Leo to go back to school, in the film Lapromise, inspired by the La Hojarasca reading club, from Recoveco, Mocorito.
And although in statistical terms, in relation to the total enrollment of the school, there are relatively few absentees –which would not imply doing extra hard or strenuous work–, in terms of individuality, there are many. In Sinaloa, children who drop out of school barely reach 2.03% in primary school and 4.1% in secondary school, however, In terms of students with names and surnames, there are 6,251 children who have not returned to primary school and 5,630 are no longer in secondary school. 11 thousand 881 Sinaloan children who are not learning, who are not playing or hanging out with their little friends at school; 11 thousand 881 children who are moving away from the possibility of having a comprehensive education for life.
In this regard, the governor said that it is the teachers who directly know the children who dropped out of school and therefore it would be more feasible for them to be the ones who participate in the location and persuasion to return to school and that, even, I could talk to the union leaders to help with the teachers in case they put up any resistance.
Nevertheless, The priority so far has been the empowerment of schools, especially the reinstallation of the electrical network and the substations, which were vandalized and which went from 117 to 156 schools. As of Monday of this week, 10 schools that required a larger investment had already been enabled, 66 were being worked on and 80 were in the hiring process, with a state investment of 130 million obtained from the State Government’s own savings (they were not in the budget), in addition to the fact that 339 schools had already been refurbished in which minor repairs were made.
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The governor reported the details directly to the media, after the previous week he called officials to attention for not directly informing the parents of the affected schools, some of whom continued to make public demonstrations without knowing that their problem was already being taken care of, suggesting that some could be doing more politics than government.
Enabling the schools so that all of their students can take classes could take a few more weeks, which is now a priority, however, it is also a priority for the 11,881 students who have dropped out to return to the classrooms, which could well be done simultaneously in good communication with teachers, school administrators, students and parents.
A pending task for many years in education and that is foreseen in the new basic education study plan, which will come into force throughout the country in 2023, which does not prioritize knowledge itself, but rather community building as a joint education project beyond the school classrooms themselves and where it is contemplated that, even the students, play an important role in defining the educational course and more relevant in knowledge construction strategies, in a scheme of, for example, learning by projects.
Close, fluid, efficient communication between the participants in the educational process, authorities, teachers, students, directors, parents and community social sectors is one of the fundamental pillars of the new educational model, so for it to be successful, must transcend generic, top-down and depersonalized information, disseminated only through the media, as acts of authority, to dialogic, personalized, face-to-face, more human communication of all the actors in the educational process, where tolerance prevails , respect for diversity, inclusion and participatory democracy, as the main strategy for the formation of a new culture of social relations, from the school itself but in symbiosis with the community.
It is no longer a matter of privileging technical content without context, as in competency-based education, but rather learning for community life. We will have to go from seeing children in the form of statistics, to children of flesh and blood, with a living history and perhaps with a family drama that could be helped to resolve. These children also have the right to learn and be happy.