The most serious educational crisis that Latin America has gone through in the last 100 years as a result of the pandemic left its students without face-to-face classes for 162 days, between March 2020 and November 2021. The consequences, experts warn, will continue to manifest themselves in the short and medium term. A key figure to help redraw the school reality is the teaching staff who, after adapting against the clock to the remote system, now try to teach in an economically and emotionally adverse scenario. For them, the widening learning gap between rich and poor students has compromised their future, they said in the survey. The Teaching Voicepublished at the end of October by the Laboratory for Research and Innovation in Education for Latin America and the Caribbean, SUMMA.
The vast majority of the nearly 200,000 teachers consulted, from 21 countries in the region, both from private and public schools, and from rural and urban areas, have verified a gap between what their students should know and the knowledge they master. Only 6.6% maintain that all their students are at the expected learning levels. The challenges and fears of teachers are marked by the economic situation of the schools where they teach. The more vulnerable, the greater the student learning gap, as well as the dropout and attendance rates.
Teachers link the school dropout of older students to having to take money home and, in general, to internet connectivity problems (85.1%), poor access to electronic resources (77.1%) , the families’ lack of time to help them with homework (54.7%) and socioeconomic difficulties (54.2%).
But how are the students? Health difficulties due to covid-19 or another disease are the main problem that students have faced and that has hindered their learning process, according to 37.5% of teachers. 27.8% mention demotivation or depression. 12%, domestic violence. That is why when it comes to identifying the challenges that lie ahead, in addition to shortening the learning gap of their students, the highest priority for teachers is to strengthen the mechanisms of support and pedagogical accompaniment for schools and their teams, and the care and well-being of school communities, especially in its socio-emotional dimension.
The forced move to the remote system was especially difficult for teachers in vulnerable schools, who say in the survey that they were challenged not only professionally, but also personally. Although the vast majority (81.2%) received distance teaching training from the Ministry of Education of their country, 37.6% affirm that it was insufficient. Nearly nine out of 10 accessed their own computers to teach the classes. With this cocktail of adversities, only 13% say they have covered all the curricular content that they had to teach during the pandemic.
To face this new reality, more than 90% have adapted the curriculum. The strategy most used by teachers, as they themselves indicate, has been to work individually with each student based on the level of learning or need for it. The second has been to implement learning diagnostic evaluations to identify the content to level, although 43.4% acknowledge that they did not carry out diagnostic evaluations during the pandemic, which will make this process of readjustment and comparison difficult.
Join EL PAÍS to follow all the news and read without limits.
Subscribe here to newsletter of EL PAÍS America and receive all the informative keys of the current affairs of the region