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  • Students are demanding that Eduardo Petta, the Minister of Education and Sciences, be interpolated.

    Students are demanding that Eduardo Petta, the Minister of Education and Sciences, be interpolated. | Photo: EFE

Published 4 April 2019

Deputy Carlos Relaja noted that more than 3,000 teachers retired from state schools and colleges in the last six months and that the Ministry had been aware that this would take place, since 2017.

Representatives of the National Federation of Secondary Students (FENAES) presented a letter, Wednesday, addressed to the President of the National Congress, Silvio Ovelar, requesting that the Minister of Education and Sciences, Eduardo Petta, be questioned in relation to Paraguay's education system crisis.

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In the meantime, FANAES spokeswoman Karina Gill says that students will conduct sit-ins, close down streets, and go on strike until the situation is resolved.

The secondary schools are currently classified as "inoperative" by the Ministry of Education and Sciences (MEC) due to the lack of anticipation of the retirement of thousands of teachers, which is preventing more than 200 public institutions throughout the country from commencing the school year.

The students are asking Petta to clarify several aspects of the educators' retirement from the MEC, the lack of foresight, and whether there is a contingency plan that will alleviate the situation while they are required to wait for new instructors to be hired.

The students are denouncing the government for violating their right to education and presenting justifications that the students believe should not be admitted.


"WHEN WILL WE HAVE TEACHERS? Students from schools in the City of Fernando de la Mora are blocking streets due to lack of teachers. NO MORE FALSE PROMISES. INTERPELLATION NOW!"
 

All attempts for dialogue with the minister have been exhausted, and no action has been taken almost two months after the beginning of the semester for public schools and colleges.

The National Union of Directors of Educational Institutions of Official Management of Paraguay (SINADI) also presented a note to the Senate Tuesday, requesting that the Secretary of State be questioned.

SINADI presented four cases to the Senate, including the lack of teachers in almost 500 institutions in the country, since last year, as well as complaints of irregular payments that were instead used to purchase 180 mobile classrooms.

The directors are asking that Petta and his team work to achieve a 16 percent increase in teacher salaries.

Deputy Carlos Relaja, from the Hagamos Party, announced at a Lower House session Wednesday a proposal to declare an educational emergency throughout the country. Meaning, the MEC will have the support necessary in terms of resources for hiring teachers. Relaja explained that the objective is to prevent students from missing any more classes due to lack of instructors.

Relaja noted that more than 3,000 teachers retired from state schools and colleges in the last six months and that the Ministry had been aware that this would take place, since 2017.

According to the data presented by the deputy, approximately 40,000 students are being affected. Relaja indicated that it is necessary to come up with a long-term solution since 40,000 more teachers are expected to retire in the next decade.

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