A crisis that opens opportunities

Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Chicago. Rector of the University of CEMA. Member of the National Academy of Education. Academic Counselor for Libertad y Progreso.

Mercado – It is time to admit reality, face the terrible inheritance that this real educational tragedy will leave us and propose short-term strategies that allow minimizing costs and taking advantage of the opportunity to reset Argentine education.

Two of the worst legacies that the coronavirus will leave are: the exodus of students from private management schools to public management schools, which could cause the public system to collapse and further deteriorate the education received by those who have less – hence those most in need-, and the sharp increase in high school dropouts.

In this regard, the Minister of Education, Nicolás Trotta, stated that “what worries me the most, in addition to a safe return to the classroom, is that we are going to suffer a shelling, an abandonment especially in secondary school … in a situation like this with the economic and social impact that the pandemic had ”.

How to reverse, in the short term, this strong desertion, generating new opportunities for our young people? The dual education system is the answer.

In it, adolescents, who want to participate, spend a significant amount of time working in companies, while they go through the last years of their secondary studies. As the learning process progresses, students increase training time in companies and reduce learning time in schools, thus achieving, upon graduation, joining, provided with human capital, to the production process.

Implementing the German dual system, adapted to our reality, would be an important contribution so that many young people who have dropped out of high school return to the classroom encouraged by a short-term job exit and, therefore, it would be an ideal instrument to face a serious A problem that our secondary school has suffered for a long time and that has been exacerbated by the economic situation that we have to go through today.

Avalanche on the public system

Let’s now look at the second of the legacies with which we will have to live. It is clear that many families have found it impossible to pay the fees in the privately managed schools that their children attend and must transfer them to public management schools.

The public system will not be able to absorb such a large number of students without seriously deteriorating the service it provides.

What alternative do we have? Generate a subsidy scheme for privately managed schools so that they can continue to operate, thereby reducing emigration?

It is a possibility to consider, but if we want to reset Argentine education, this is a valuable opportunity to change a paradigm that we must not miss.

It consists of creating a simple savings account exclusively for educational expenses of those affected students, which I will call Educard; a tool that would give families the possibility to continue deciding on their children’s schooling.

This account would be administered by the parents, so that their children could continue to attend the school that the family has chosen at the time and not the one that, as a direct consequence of the economic crisis generated by the quarantine, they must attend.

Although it seems a crazy statement, the coronavirus, in the educational field, has increased freedom.

At a time when most of us find ourselves secluded in our homes, having lost even the freedom to carry out the most ordinary routines of our lives, many families are experiencing unexpected educational freedom.

Many parents today have a role in the education of their children that they have never been able to do before, taking advantage of a multitude of learning resources that can be found on the Internet.

Let us give them the opportunity to continue having it, allowing them to apply the amount allocated by the State to educate a student in a school of public management of the respective district to the school where they consider that they can obtain the best or most appropriate education for their children. The proposal is budgetary feasible, since it is indistinguishable from subsidizing the privately managed colleges that today see their very existence at risk.

Dual education, financing families and not the system. At the risk of being repetitive, every crisis generates opportunities, this does not have to be the exception. We have an opportunity to reset Argentine education, hopefully we will not miss it.

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