After 16 months with schools closed, Panama is the country in the world with the largest number of days without face-to-face or blended education, UNICEF said.
77% of Panama's students want to return to face-to-face classes in classrooms, which have been closed since March 2020 due to the pandemic, UNICEF said on Monday, calling for a gradual and voluntary return with all biosafety measures due to the covid
"According to preliminary data from the U-Report survey ( https://panama.ureport.in/), 77% of Panamanian adolescents and young people want to return to school in person, the Fund for the United Nations for Children (UNICEF) in Panama.
After 16 months with schools closed, Panama is the "country in the world with the highest number of days without face-to-face or blended education", and the "safe, gradual, flexible and voluntary reopening of schools is an imperative to guarantee equitable access to education. education, leaving no one behind, "said the United Nations entity.
Since the first case of COVID
-19 was detected in March 2020, Panama closed its schools, with about 900,000 students, and distance classes are taught through platforms, radio and television.
The return to the classroom "must be part of a consensus between the actors of the educational community, parents, teachers, students among others from each educational center," says Unicef.
"Currently, in Panama there are 19 schools certified as "safe schools", out of a total of more than 3,150 distributed throughout the country," 437 schools that provide face-to-face tutoring, 2,659 health committees have been formed in schools, and 60 centers early childhood care (CAIPI) operating in person, "said Unicef.
The authorities had indicated that suitable schools located in the areas with the lowest incidence of covid
-19 would begin blended classes this month, that is, with assistance to the classroom a few days a week for several hours.
But the initiative was suspended due to complaints from the board of public sector teachers, who argue that the vast majority of schools lack or have a very precarious water service, and that the vaccination of teaching staff is just beginning.
And just as groups of parents have demonstrated asking for face-to-face classes, others have expressed their fear that children and young people will be exposed to the virus in public transport for example, so they are reluctant to send them to schools.
Unicef reiterated its support for organizations, educational and health authorities in the reopening process, as well as empathizing with the concern of parents and teachers, for which it promised to seek solutions in a participatory way for the return and guarantee the the right to education for the thousands of children who do not enjoy it.