Often, to express indignation, rejection or sorrow for some scandalous situation, it is said that it “has no name.” And indeed, the poor results of Guatemala in the evaluation of reading comprehension and mathematical ability to 3rd grade students. and 6th. Although they confirm a harsh and painful truth, they do not stop causing a new shock, due to their implications for the future of the country.
Such deterioration in the quality of learning has been recorded for several years, but in light of the results it is necessary to recognize that very little progress has been achieved. There are efforts, yes; there are initiatives, yes; There are educators with high values and a desire for innovation, yes, but there are also enormous barriers of interests, convenience and also perverse ambitions that prevent a course correction. The most serious thing is that, in the long run, the entire nation pays the bill for the lag, since only a fraction of students and future citizens will have the cognitive tools, practical skills and intellectual skills to carve out a better future.
Many do not see it or want to see it from their inertial setting, but the educational backwardness in Guatemala, at all levels, constitutes an abject inheritance that is passed from one generation to another, with increasing damage. The suspension of classroom attendance due to the pandemic exacerbated the gap. School dropout increased due to economic reasons, connectivity difficulties or simple laziness, but it still has not been quantified. It is urgent to draw a figure for the impact, but authorities are more interested in viral appearances than realities.
Added to the low quality of learning, the prevalence of memory models and poor infrastructure, the dispersion of content and laxity in evaluations. As if that were not enough, the Ministry of Education practically forces private schools to “make win” to students who did not achieve the appropriate levels in exams, an invitation to mediocrity, which in reality does not do them any favors or the students nor to the country, as they move on to the next grade without the necessary knowledge base.
The educational history of the country has great names, of teachers, pedagogues and distant rulers who drew visionary schools, comprehensive didactic paradigms, teacher training and dignity without blackmail. Such horizons were devastated in the last 40 years by the brutality of the armed conflict, political betrayals, trade unionism sold and the accommodation of groups that see in teaching a fixed position and not an apostolate that can lead Guatemala out of the abyss.
To remain in the penultimate or last continental place in Reading and Mathematics in the country of a Nobel Prize in Literature, of eminent scientists, doctors, physicists and engineers is a shameful paradox that does have a name: that of ministers and leaders who exchanged educational quality for masses deaf and blind distracting support. It has the name of the graduate who is applying for a job with little vocabulary, without knowing how to solve a simple equation, without knowing English. It has the name of school owners who are more concerned with the income of fees than the minds of children and young people. It is a shame that he has the name of a teacher leader who neither exercises nor lets exercise decently the mission of building a better future.