Education in Bolivia, pending matter of the State

Reference image / Pixabay.

By Juan Carlos Rodas del Castillo

EDUCATION in Bolivia is a pending State matter, practically, Since the creation of the Republic, none of the governments gave real importance to this very important issue., which is a fundamental pillar for the development of any nation.

Education in the South American country is oriented to an anachronistic system out of date in time, It is no secret that many of the governments that the highland country had, she was mainly inclined to political interests, rather than state policies aimed at development.

Knowledge in the world, day that passes they advance by leaps and bounds in science, technology and research, all areas are rapidly changing and modernizing, This is the result of research, diligence, human curiosity, for seeing their nation before others and mainly for the welfare of its population.

The current educational system was created for a technological world and past reality. The Bolivian father of a family should ask himself: Does the current educational system benefit or harm the creativity of our children??, Do many of our children see the teacher as a friend or as an ogre?, the educational system should train thinking people, Warriors, no repetitive automata, no memorials or people who only ask the state, otherwise, that they produce.

If Bolivia decisively wanted to get out of poverty and the anachronistic underdevelopment in which it has been since its birth, I SHOULD DECLARE EDUCATION AS HIGH PRIORITY AND NATIONAL URGENCY, if you wanted to enter a field of technological development, industrial, research and make it competitive against the rest of the nations, must revolutionize its educational system, changing learning and teaching paradigms.  

The main links for changes are the State and teachers, the latter is the one who gives birth to the meaning in the students, A large part of the teachers were inclined towards this work more out of convenience than out of vocation.. In a country that does not offer permanent sources of employment, it is attractive to lean towards teaching, as, at the end of your training, a job and permanent income awaits you, although this is not very attractive.

Teachers as in the most advanced countries, they should have at least a university degree, preferably with a master's degree in education and in the area you will teach, because if we continue as we are, we will continue in the dark ages, Bolivia is a young country in its population, this potential must be harnessed, the paper should be examined, role and place of the teacher in education, scopes and ethics. There is a human bond established between the teacher and his disciple, this is a compromise between each other, but, To what extent is this?, the results tell us that the teacher and the student are failing.

The Tigers of Asia, What did they do to get out of underdevelopment, hunger and backwardness?, apart from sound government policies to boost their development, they did it in less than a generation (some 70 years). His biggest concern was education, it is there where they directed much of their efforts, Bolivia has already been close to 200 years of life, they are like three generations, and still can't take off.

International test results attest to the educational success of some Asian countries, like Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand and Japan, contrasting with the school reality of Latin America. From the data of the TALIS report 2013, There is a wide distance from Asian teaching to certain countries and Latin American teachers, also appreciating particular obstacles that the Latin American region must overcome to progress in the educational field, highlighting the importance of designing relevant and particular educational policies for each country and regions, before trying to copy, you must be able to learn and be inspired by the successful experiences of Asian tigers.

The PISA tests, is a standardized assessment of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that measures quality, equity and efficiency of school systems 79 countries, assess science knowledge, mathematics and comprehension of texts of students of 15 years, some countries were left out of the study, like cuba, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela, Bolivia by choice, in recent years he has resisted entering any evaluation system, much worse than PISA. The PISA report constitutes a not entirely unfaithful X-ray of education on the planet, make one thing clear, the good and sometimes surprising good grades from Asian countries.

Asia monopolizes all positions in the area of ​​mathematics, headed by the surprising Shanghai, your teens also happen to be world champions in writing comprehension, also in scientific knowledge Shanghai ranks first, continued, this time, from finland, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Miyako Ikeda, an OECD researcher, assured the France Press agency that the economic capital of China is “pioneer in educational reforms”. And he pointed to the fact of having changed certain school programs in order to give adolescents more choice..

Thanks to deep educational reforms with a strong impact on subjects such as mathematics, physics, chemistry and reading comprehension, the so-called Tigers of Asia is how they achieved this dizzying ascent to development, today they are pioneers in cutting-edge technology, demonstrating growth in quality, quantity and low price of its products widely reaching international markets.

In our country there are students who hate those subjects that are the basis for research, scientific and technological knowledge, this due to the defective training of many teachers in the acquisition and transmission of knowledge to students, this is one of the achilles heels, they should make students love those subjects and others.

The so-called Tigers of Asia, standing below our underdeveloped nation, in less than a generation they jumped to development and have cutting-edge technology, they, as well as the so-called developed countries, they always knew that the most important thing for the development of any nation, is education, this is where they incline their greatest efforts, since their children and well-trained university students, they will be the ones who will govern and produce in their country in the future, This is an analysis that all Latin American countries should do. European countries spent the first and second world wars, were almost decimated in every respect, but in a few years they knew how to get up and weigh again in the world context in all fields. So, What is Bolivia doing wrong?.

This can be measured by looking at the state of our country in economy, Health, education, research, technology, corruption, degree of freedom, Justice, production,  productivity and competitiveness and etc. etc., because the decisions of rulers, legislators and decision makers in general for the current state of the country, at some point they were students or not students, who were forming their ideas according to the education they received in school and university classrooms, they today are the ones who direct and / or directed the country, but not all. There are professionals, that despite the poor education received, they were able to go out to finish training beyond the borders, few returned, most of them stay in other countries, since they offer them greater job opportunities, of personal and economic fulfillment, things that the country does not offer, we call this brain drain.

From the Report finalized by the Unesco, carried out by the Latin American Laboratory for the Evaluation of the Quality of Education (LLECE), of the Regional Office of Education for Latin America and the Caribbean (Orealc / UNESCO Santiago), in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, and concluded at the end of 2020, on an evaluation carried out in 2017 about 12.000 students.

Considering that the mean of the regional scale corresponds to 700 points, It was observed that, in all tests, Bolivia was slightly below this score, In Bolivia, a trend similar to that observed in the countries of the region that participated.

According to the study, Bolivia has a large concentration of students at low performance levels. The study also found that the proportion of students who are in the two lower levels is higher in sixth grade than in third grade, which reveals that performance deteriorates as students advance in their educational process.

The study divides students between levels I (lower performance) y IV (highest performance). In most cases, Bolivian students are at level I and II. Only a 20% are on average the high level.

Regarding Mathematics, in third grade close to 63% Y 18% of students are in levels I and II, respectively. That means, that more than 80% fails to reach a high or medium-high level of understanding. That is to say, the vast majority of students have not yet mastered fundamental skills in the field of mathematics, such as understanding number sequences, compare and convert measurements, or do more challenging operations in the realm of natural numbers. In Math in 6th grade, level I concentrates a higher percentage of students (62%) who can only perform simple tasks, such as estimating weights and lengths, identify relative positions on maps, identify rules or patterns for the formation of simple number sequences, solve simple problems and read explicit data in tables and graphs. On the other hand, It is observed that these students have difficulties to relate different spatial views, among other. In the sixth grade (boys and girls of about 11 year old) students have problems not being able to perform algebraic operations and understand notions of arithmetic. “It is observed that these students have difficulties to relate areas, determine missing terms, identify angles, determine length or mass measurements, among other", sustains the Unesco report.

The study established, that education levels in Bolivia are low in areas such as mathematics, reading, social and natural sciences. More than half of students are at the bottom of knowledge. For example, on the third grade reading test (students about eight years old), half of the students are at level I (the lowest performer). This means that one in two students is not able to interpret figurative language., reflect and make judgments and recognize types of text of structures that are not in common use.

Related to natural science in sixth grade, the 90% of students are in the lower half of performance levels. This means that they are only capable of performing tasks such as interpreting simple information., who have knowledge of the classification of living beings and who manage to establish cause and effect relationships in situations close to their daily lives.

As for the plane of writing, Bolivia obtains scores slightly lower than the average of the 15 participating countries of 2013. The document also describes that, in all tests and grades, students from indigenous populations are at a disadvantage compared to students who do not belong to this group, with differences between 30 Y 80 average points in the different tests of the study. Likewise, The study provides data in which differences are observed in the average favorable to urban educational establishments over rural ones. Also the students of private schools obtain much higher results than the public ones.

We conclude that the Unesco results are not very encouraging regarding the state of education in Bolivia.. A staff at the highest level should be created with educators of the highest rank, assistance from international experts, businessmen and government, from there to evacuate proposals for the school and university education of the ideal Bolivian suitable for the 21st century to get out of poverty, jump to technology, to development and competitiveness. Parallel to research and science, almost incipient fields in Bolivia.

This would allow many young people to move towards science professions., technology, research and engineering, not like today, that the vast majority are inclined towards desk professions, non-productive, creating more bureaucracy in the state and municipalities.  Teachers should wake up, boost skills, imagination and genius with which every childhood is born, Europe is already working on it, directing their little ones to the natural inclination that awakens them to a certain trade or profession, they are no longer pigeonholed in an outdated anachronistic system in time.