Educational emergency is the only alternative

Edgardo Zablotsky

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.

INFOBAE – Once upon a time, there was a country that was the envy of Latin America; talking about education in that country was a source of pride, as it represented the key to social mobility. In that country, not so long ago, soccer was played on Sundays, the series were seen once a week and parents treated the young ladies in white smocks with respect, in whom they deposited the dream of a better future for their children. . What happened to that country? How did we get to this?

Practically a year without face-to-face classes; thousands of children have lost much more than a year of their schooling. For a multitude of adolescents there will be no return, they will add their life stories to the scourge of school dropout. For the luckiest children, Zoom has become their worst nightmare, the reader imagines at the age of five every day in front of a screen, instead of learning by playing to love learning and not taking it as the worst of punishments. But they have been the privileged ones, many others lost contact with the school, having Zoom once in a while on a cell phone, with all the connectivity problems typical of our reality, has turned only into a fantasy of our imaginary the fact that they have not wasted the year. Let’s not do like the ostrich, it is essential to correct it by 2021, otherwise it will certainly be repeated.

We are the exception in the world, as we have been so many other times, we are Argentines, we are different, we are the best, but we are doing very badly. Let us not deny it. Why can’t we admit that the rest of the world, with its flaws and mistakes, performs far better than our country? We can argue for hours, but in Sweden every child or adolescent under the age of 16 has not missed a single day of school, even at the height of the pandemic. We can discuss as much as the reader wishes, but in Uruguay classes are a priority, schools remain open, despite the summer season in Punta del Este being canceled, with the immense cost that this represents.

Our reality is different, it is ashamed to illustrate it. The same adults who oppose the full reopening of schools, until a miraculous vaccine arrives, can already go to restaurants, gyms, theaters and even casinos, and when summer arrives, the coast awaits them.

A few days ago, Rabbi Uriel Romano published a tweet that reflects with such clarity the irrationality that we are experiencing that, despite how terribly hard it is to read it and just to imagine it, it is appropriate to quote it: “We Jews secretly studied the Torah during the Greek and Roman persecutions. In the Ghettos and Concentration Camps there were never no schools. Education is always an act of resistance … “

It is essential to stop talking and doing. There is objectively a risk to life, or perhaps it is possible that children who, due to the closure of schools, have not received an education during 2020 will have the possibility of developing a life with similar opportunities to having received it. Decreeing the educational emergency and, based on it, establishing education as an essential public service, is the only alternative, otherwise another year will be lost with the terrible consequences that thousands of children and young people will have to pay in the future, and we will be responsible.