Escuelita:

Why Secondary Education in Ecuador isn’t Working

The immediate past Ecuadorian President, Rafael Correa has been criticized as a man that seeks attention and public praise. This perhaps is why many of his policies are overly advertised, well planned but poorly managed. Education in Ecuador is not an exemption.

The government set out to have more students in school and give disadvantaged students access to education; there is no argument that more students are in school than ever before under Rafael Correa. The question I intend to raise is what are these children doing in school?

More students are in school under Rafael Correa but more people also show deep ignorance. A lack of knowledge about simple things such as primary school science phenomena, basic mathematical concepts, secondary school argument/debate and expression of personal opinion.

Rafael Correa seems to have discovered a way of hacking United Nations’ Development Indexes. Indexes like number of students in school, number of education facilities and percentage of government spending on education. He has invested billions of dollars on education with an almost inherent lack of interest in how this investment is actually used.

It’s not entirely Correa’s fault, here are a couple of things I believe contribute to poor quality of education in Ecuador:

1. Responsibility: the Ecuadorian society is built such that everyone is afraid of being ‘responsible’. Use of any facility for instance has to be authorized by someone who would be responsible should there be any damage. He’s not sure there wouldn’t be any damage so he almost never authorizes. This situation can be resolved if students pay damages, school facilities are insured or if the break-one-buy-two rule under which I used the laboratory in school was applied.

2. Inertia: built from an early age, most Ecuadorian student lack the desire to do anything. There’s generally too much inertia and I believe this stems from a lack of sense of duty. Like I wrote before, with great rights comes great duty. It is the right of a child to have the love and support of a family as much as it is the child’s duty to contribute to the success of the family by participating in house chores and activities that bond the family together. If a child has to do nothing more than eat, sleep and play video games; he’ll go to school and do nothing other than gist, play and have girlfriends. Having fun is an essential part of child development but the Ecuadorian education system has made it the purpose of child development.

3. Credit: This is the simple reason Ecuador finds it difficult to compete globally. In a society where uneducated schooled people can easily get credit to start a small business and make just enough money to keep the business small scale; the more credit people take, the richer the elite; the more interest people pay the more taxes government gets. That’s probably why the ruling elite have done nothing to change the education system- why would they when they can send their own children to private schools at home and abroad while keeping the poor happy in schools that teach nothing but feeds them with milk and biscuits and making a fortune every time the average person takes on debt.

4. Personal Independence: The average Nigerian aged 18 and above already considers himself independent of his family and is continuously thinking and striving for a source of economic subsistence. In Ecuador, you can be 25 and be living with your parents and have absolutely no plan to move out some day or even be financially independent of them. This has limited average financial aspirations. Why would a child dream of owning a car some day when he can drive his father’s which still has 5 months of credit to be paid? Why would anyone want to work or study hard? Oh well, so they can get the latest Samsung Galaxy Tab and pay over 5 months.

As much as it is good to live a chill life, have fun and laugh a lot, I would never want to raise a child in the present Ecuadorian education system where most folks don’t aspire, no one wants to be fired, everyone lives on inertia, there’s no reason to perspire and independence is nothing to consider.

Fiyin Kolawole

26 Oct. '17. GYE.

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