Summary: Almost 250,000 Peruvians will have left school by 2020. The aprendo en Casa (learning at home) programme launched by Peru’s government was not an adequate response. Rodrigo Reyes, from Ate’s outer region, one of the 43 districts that make up Lima, is 16 years old. He and his two younger siblings stopped attending school in 2020 due to the pandemic’s severe financial impact on the family. Delia Paredes, who quit school before finishing her primary education because she got pregnant, is 17 and can still not complete her coursework.
In 2021, the rate of early pregnancy, like Delia’s, was 2.9% among girls and teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17. It is primarily found in rural areas, where it was 4.8 percent, compared to 2.3 percent in metropolitan areas. The Ministry of Education has launched a National Emergency Plan for the Peruvian Educational System from the second half of 2021 to the first half of 2022. Professor Mendoza said the priority is to re-enrol the population group that has been denied the right to an education.
Lima, 22 September (IPS) – “I stopped studying when the pandemic broke out, in my final year of school. Internet access at home was not something my parents could afford, “says 18-year-old Rodrigo Reyes, one of the almost 250,000 kids who will have left school by 2020.
The elementary and secondary school pupils who enrolled for the school year but did not finish it are included in this statistic.
The country adopted remote education in March 2020 as a preventive measure against the development of COVID-19, making it necessary to have access to the internet and electronic gadgets. Until 2022, students took their coursework online before returning to the traditional classroom.
However, during this time, kids who live in poverty or are part of rural and indigenous populations have suffered from worsening disparities in access to and quality education.
With slightly over 33 million citizens, Peru is a multicultural and multiethnic nation where 25.9 per cent of the population lived in poverty in 2021, which was 4.2 percentage points lower than in 2020 but 5.7 points more than in 2019, the year before the pandemic broke out. Officially, 22 percent of the urban population and 39.7 percent of the rural population experienced monetary poverty, illustrating a significant social divide.
Rossana Mendoza, a university professor of intercultural bilingual education, said, “We are talking about the primary and secondary students who are always the ones who do not manage to thrive in their learning, those who, quote-unquote, fail the Student Census Evaluation tests, who live in provinces that occupy the last places in the rankings at the national level.
In an interview with IPS at her home in the Jess Mara neighbourhood of Lima, she continued, “They are the same young people who face several deficiencies and services. They are indigenous people speaking a language other than Spanish for whom the Aprendo en Casa (learning at home) programme launched by the government was not an adequate response.”
But poor suburban students were also impacted. Mendoza claimed they could only devote minimal time to their education since they had to balance it with helping their parents out by working to maintain the family.
This was the situation for Reyes, who was forced to abandon his plans to become a heavy machinery technician and drop out of school.
In his neighbourhood’s Santa Marta market, where he has been working full-time since the pandemic started, he told IPS, “I was going to finish school at 16, I was going to graduate with my friends, and then I planned to prepare myself to apply to the institute and become a mechanic… but it didn’t happen.
Reyes resides in the district of Ate’s outer region, one of the 43 districts that make up Lima, on the city’s eastern side. His family migrated from the nation’s heartland, like a sizable portion of the district’s almost 600,000 residents, in quest of better possibilities.
“Study, in my opinion—which is what we wanted for our kids when my husband and I moved to Lima—pulls people out of ignorance and makes them accessible. Because of this, I am pretty hurt that we could not support Rodrigo’s aspirations, “Elsa Garcia, the boy’s mother, bitterly informed IPS.
Rodrigo and his two younger siblings stopped attending school in 2020 due to the pandemic’s severe financial impact on the family. Only the more youthful siblings could resume their studies the following year.
“My dad purchased a cell phone for each of my sibling’s thanks to the money we saved working together at the store, and now they all have access to the internet. I must continue to help them so they can complete their education and pursue careers; perhaps in the future, I can do the same, “Roger stated.
Before the pandemic, there were educational obstacles in this South American nation. Delia Paredes, who quit school before finishing her primary education because she got pregnant, is aware of this. She is currently 17 years old and can still not complete her coursework.
She resides outside the town of Neshulla, which has a population of 7,500 and is situated in the central-eastern district of the Ucayali department in Peru’s Amazon jungle, in a rural location with her parents and younger sisters. Her father, Ber Paredes, is a farmer who works as a labourer on nearby farms and has no land of his own. He makes less than $100 per month.
“Since I couldn’t afford to buy my daughter the shoes, clothes, and school supplies she needed to continue her studies, and since she gave birth to her child, she started helping my wife at home as a homemaker, I don’t have any money, and this area is impoverished, he said over the phone to IPS from Neshulla.
Alexandra and Deliz, his two younger daughters, are enrolled in school and have returned to the classroom this year. Alexandra regrets what happened to her elder sister. “She frequently reiterates her desire to become a nurse. I’ve promised her I’ll assist her when I’m employed as a teacher, “She spoke.
In 2021, the rate of early pregnancy, like Delia’s, which is regarded as forced by rights organisations because it frequently follows rape, was 2.9% among girls and teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17. It is primarily found in rural areas, where it was 4.8 percent, as opposed to 2.3 percent in metropolitan areas, just like poverty.
Before the pandemic was declared in 2020, 8.2 million kids and teenagers were enrolled in nationwide schools. Nearly 6.8 million kids and teenagers were enrolled overall as of May 2022. Education authorities anticipated the gap would close in the coming months, but they have not provided any information on this.
At the national level, about 25,000 kids were compelled to leave their studies in 2020, and nearly 125,000 did so in 2021. By 2022, though, the gap had grown, with around 670,000 students not registered for the current academic year, which started in March.
Despite the Ministry of Education launching a National Emergency Plan for the Peruvian Educational System from the second half of 2021 to the first half of 2022 to establish the conditions necessary to re-enrol children who had dropped out, this gap has developed.
According to Professor Mendoza, the priority is to re-enrol the population group that has been denied the right to an education. “A strategy is required that gives help not just in terms of studying but also concerning the challenges faced by dropped-out students in surviving with their families who as a result of the epidemic have lost their mother, father, or grandparents,” she said.
“You have to consider that rather than just focusing on their poor academic performance. Observing their challenging circumstances to overcome and exclusion from the educational system, “She spoke.
The target population must be precisely identified, she continued. “We should be able to identify these kids and teenagers, find out their names, where they reside, what happened to their families, and how the educational system can give them possibilities given their existing living circumstances, thanks to Peru’s highly established school administration system.
Mendoza clarified that since they have left the system and their living circumstances have altered, they cannot be expected to return to the educational system as if nothing had happened after they became orphans or fell into even greater poverty.
Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network