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Panama's Education System Shortchanged By Politicians

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Panamanian university students shut down street in protest against budget cut

Fri, 09/28/2018 - 15:28

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A group of students from the state University of Panama, the largest in the country, shut down yesterday one of the main streets of the capital to protest against the millionaire budget cuts affecting the university.

The university students, who carried banners and burned some car wheels, blocked the so-called Vía Transísmica (Transismic Road), one of the largest entry and exit avenues of the city, causing intense traffic.

"It is an attack on higher education, while here the money is squandered on other less important things. The University of Panama is cut 64 million dollars," student leader Gilberto Solís told local television.

The budget of the university for 2019 will be $285.1 million, $64 million less than what was requested by the authorities of the university, according to the bill introduced in Parliament and which is pending approval.

"We call on the government authorities to come face-to-face and solve this problem because the university needs resources," the protester added.

Professors, administrators and students of the university went last April to a massive demonstration to denounce the precarious state of the infrastructures and to demand a "dignified" budget and according to the macroeconomic figures of the country.

Although Panama's economic growth is lower than a few years ago, the country continues to be one of the main regional drivers and in 2016 its gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 5.7 percent.

 

https://www.panamatoday.com/panama/panamanian-university-students-shut-down-street-protest-against-budget-cut-7970

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OPINION: Panama scince shortchanged

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Marchers exit the Bio Museo

Posted 31/03/2019

Today is the third March for Science, a global event that the Science Movement in Panama, has joined in order to highlight the role played by science in the daily life of the population, and highlight the importance of research, technological innovation and the formulation of public policies based on evidence. Panama is a country that has been built and has prospered thanks to science and technology: the Canal would not have been possible without the control of mosquitoes; the hubFinancial logistic would not be feasible without the high technology of communication, and all human activities in this isthmus depend on science and
technology.

Despite this, Panama only invests 0.2% of GDP in this issue, while the aspiration of Panamanian scientists is to reach at least 1%. Although The Gorgas Institute this year has the highest budget in its history ($28.6 million) it needs more funds to face so many challenges. That is why the scientific and educational community is marching today in the capital, in Las Tablas and David. Without greater resources for the training of scientists, the financing of research and the consolidation of innovation, Panama is condemned to delay and an unsustainable intellectual dependence. In the era of anti-vaccination movements and other opponents of knowledge.- LA PRENSA, Mar. 31

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/opinion/opinion-panama-scince-shortchanged

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OPINION: Government  pimps skip education

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Posted 21/04/2019

The greatest wealth of a country is not in its natural resources or in its structures or roads. It is its people. And if you have an education, it is doubly richer. Our educational platform is decades behind. That has made our people dependent on the government of the day. The State must allocate billions in subsidies every year because simply the poor Panamanians become poorer because they need State funds to survive. We are talking about subsidies such as universal scholarships, gas, buses, the subway, the Social Security Fund, electricity, houses, the elderly without retirement, etc. And it is likely that more will be created or the amounts will increase, thanks to the campaign promises that the presidential candidates are making. In other words, The intervention of the State in the lives of the people is more evident, and it has the consent of those affected, who now believe they have the right to claim these subsidies and those that will come later. For decades, it has been a cry of society for education reforms to be introduced to make citizens productive, with which our economy would improve every year. But, far from it, the governments have been the pimps between the easy money and those who demand that the State solve their lives. Only education will make it possible for citizens to recover the dignity that governments have taken from them. It has been a cry of society for education reforms to be introduced to make citizens productive people, with which our economy would improve every year - LA PRENSA, Apl. 21

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/opinion/opinion-government-pimps-skip-education

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One look at the schools in Panama tells you the priority is not there. I've heard that for many years here. Nothing is ever done about it. Why? Once in office the tide turns for the worse.

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Priorities are definitely misplaced.

Contractors have been busy working for months now building a wall and fence around the high school in Alto Boquete while students have no text books.

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Priorities, Keith, Priorities.  A cynical mind would think that a wall and fence are tangible, seeable things while text books are not, especially this close to an election

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So pleased to see the above responses on the topic of education. I have maintained for almost my entire time here in Panama (now 18+ years) that education is the number one priority that needs "fixing". Just never seems to happen.

And then there is another posting from the newspapers here on CL this morning reporting that the Chamber of Commerce is saying that education, health care, and Social Security should be the top priority for the country and the political aspirants in the upcoming May elections. I agree, as long as education is the first on that short list.

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education, health care, and Social Security should be the top priority for the country

In my opinion these three items should be top priorities for any country.

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Let me guess...does it serve a corrupt govt to keep the mass of citizens dumbed down .....

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Panama education shortcomings highlighted

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Posted 17/05/2019

The continuing shortcomings of Panama’s education system have been highlighted in a Ministry of Education (Meduca) report on a national test of students in third and sixth grades.

They were measured in three basic subjects: Spanish, mathematics and natural sciences.

Some  30% of the students were shown to be without d basic knowledge in Spanish and mathematics; while 50% of the students when they reach the sixth grade have not been able to develop their scientific skills.

Meduca’s director of Educational Evaluation of  Gina Garcés said that the differences in performance between the tests in 2015-2016  test and the one applied in 2017-2018 are minimal.

She The official cited as an example that the performance of third-grade students in Spanish only reached a positive difference of 2.9 %, which is not significant in terms of learning improvements.

is test was applied on a census basis to 62,195 students who were in the third grade in 2, 940 schools, and to 8, 329 sixth grade students from 419 schools, government and private in both cases.

The evaluation was based on the document Fundamental Rights of Learning of Students, of Meduca, through the key concepts: "what should know, what should be done and with what level of domain".

 Bocas del Toro and Darién had the lowest levels in the evaluation The results, says Garcés, are an opportunity to improve the education system. In the case of natural sciences, they will have to define a focused action plan to achieve the competency that students require in this subject.

Coming Up
 Meduca expects to have results this year for  Pisa, the international evaluation driven by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)  and s applied every three years which was applied to 6,419 students in 2018.

The test was aimed at 15-year-old students in seventh grade and above. The areas in which they were evaluated were are comprehensive reading, science, and mathematics, with an emphasis on comprehensive reading.

In the test applied in 2009 Panama was in  62nd position, only 3 places from the bottom.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama-education-shortcomings-highlighted

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OPINION: Mediocrity shame

Posted 17/05/2019

THE RESULTS  of the Crece tests - which the Ministry of Education carries out in public and private schools - are discouraging. These were applied to children of third and sixth grade, and the great majority lack the competencies that they should have in essential subjects, such as Spanish, mathematics, and science. Tens of millions of dollars wasted in salaries, schools, technological investments. There is an urgent need for changes in the way it is taught; in the way of evaluating; in public policies on education; in pedagogy. We are in shameful positions in international tests that shout at us: they need to change. The deep mediocrity that reigns in the teaching-learning process is more than evident, but it gives shame that there is no political will to carry out the reforms that are needed for decades. According to these results, our schools, colleges, and universities are not training professionals, much less citizens. Could it be that governments do not want more educated people, with informed criteria? Could it be that society does not feel the need to have critical, innovative citizens? This is not the work of a government. This concerns us all-LA PRENSA, May 17

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/opinion/opinion-mediocrity-shame-1

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