July 20, 2011

Bolivia and a tale of no access to education

For many years now I have been struggling with the education system in Bolivia which is in total disarray, but yesterday afternoon my manager in Cochabamba called me in tears to tell me that her two boys were rejected from two public schools.

Why did this happen, I asked?
Well... at both public schools ("colegios fiscales" as they are called in Bolivia), she was told that since she has a job and a monthly salary, the school must send someone to check her house and place of work to make sure she needed to have her kids at a public school. Only after the inspections the school board will determine if they accept the boys.
She was also told that they give priority to:
-Kids whose parents do not have a job
-Families with more than four kids
-Kids who are victims of abuse 

In addition, even though they are public schools, public education in Bolivia is not free. Parents must pay monthly for their children to attend school, in addition to uniforms (required at all public schools), books, supplies and materials are not provided by the state. 


Options?
Not many as private education is expensive in Bolivia.

Next step?
Wait for the "inspections" and hope for the best.
My feelings about this?
I come from Costa Rica where since 1869, the country became one of the first in the world to make the education both free and obligatory... so you guys can imagine how I feel about something like this happening to the person I see not only as my right hand but as my friend. 



I don't usually write things like this on this little space of mine, but this issue definitely deserves to be brought to people's attention.

photography by me

6 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry to hear this! Can she refute their 'inspection' and demand to have her kids entered? This is seriously outrageous. It only makes me appreciate what we have here though it's not perfect as well. The kids who drop out of school here should go to live in Bolivia for a year and see what real hardships are like. I hope and pray your friend resolves this problem.

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  2. Yes, it is really heart breaking when things like these happen... This is a woman who has worked her way up with lots of effort and honesty to be able to provide for her family. I am really sad and hope that some way we can get her kids into school.

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  3. it does deserve attention because it's such a frustrating cycle that will always keep her down, if it's not one thing it's something else. i'm so sorry =(

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  4. This is so sad, we really are blessed to live in the United States.

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  5. This certainly deserves to be brought to attention. The education system should deserve the most attention in every country.
    Ada

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  6. Coming from Finland, which has one of the best public school systems (totally free, materials and all) hearing about Bolivia's situation is very sad and unjustified. All children need and deserve an education! Are there any organizations that can help, or anything that we can do to support schools in Bolivia?

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