The end of the year is approaching and with it the end of the 2022 school year. And although many students face the remaining month of classes as a time to reap what was sown during the year, putting their best effort into preparing tests, finishing assignments and attending to classes, for a large number of boys, girls and young people it is a month where attending or not attending can mean everything.
And we are not talking about passing the course. In Chile, a third of schoolchildren miss a month or more of classes during the entire school year, accounting for chronic absenteeism that affects both their learning and their psychosocial development.
Attending classes is essential for the acquisition of learning and achieving the maximum development of potentialities. But unfortunately it is not a fact that all families in Chile value or have incorporated.
Recently, at Fundación Educacional Presente we surveyed more than 2,000 parents throughout Chile and with great regret we realized that a high percentage of them (close to 50%) think that attending classes does not influence what children and girls can do in the future. And that is the belief that we must change if we want to face the great problem that we have today, where after the pandemic the cases of absenteeism have doubled.
Let’s give an example to make it clearer: if we consider that chronic absenteeism means missing one month of school a year, and we think of the same boy or girl missing one month from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade, we are talking about missing 10 months, that is , you lose an entire year of schooling, and that causes gigantic damage, very difficult to reverse.
This is why we must create value for attendance. Explain to the students why it is important to go to school, and at the same time create an environment in the establishments in which the children and their families say I want to go to school because I am learning things, because there is a challenging environment, which It stimulates me, where I have good relationships with my classmates, I have teachers who bond with me, among others.
We also want to give relevance to the end. In November and December the weather begins to improve, but despite what everyone believes, attendance begins to drop. Imagine for a moment that all endings were eliminated: from movies, books, poems… The ending is important. The same goes for school. If we miss the end of school we are missing something very important. Being there until the end, finishing what we started, is a great lesson for our boys, girls and young people. It will give them tools to learn to finish what we started in life, and that is useful forever, for the current life and for the adult life of our students.
Present Educational Foundation