I'm just finishing your book and was wondering what happened with the
education system in your country after the crash.
I would like to know about public elementary schools and universities.
Did the teachers and professors still show up?
Were schools closed for some time? How long did it take to get things
back to normal, if they ever did?
No doubt education was seriously impacted because of the crisis. Before 2002, teachers had been underpaid for years. Their wages somewhat improved later after the crisis but interesting enough the quality for education went steadily down. While I believe that a teacher should be paid a fair salary, simply raising salaries doesn’t mean you’ll end up with better education.
Even though salaries for teachers where being raised the infrastructure was visibly in worse condition than in pre 2002 times, and even now keeps getting worse year by year.
Officially speaking there’s been thousands of new schools inaugurated, billions of dollars spent, but the results just aren’t there. When dealing with a corrupt country you have to understand that lying is just as normal for these people as breathing. If they say they inaugurated 1000 educational institutions, maybe they actually opened the doors to 20 half finished real school buildings. The rest are upgrades and improvements that may be an extra class room being built or even something as simple as a paint job. There’s hundreds if not thousands of public buildings including schools that were inaugurated by the president before completion, in some cases just with the walls and floor, only to be abandoned once the ribbon was cut and the cameras stopped filming. The idea is to pretend, not to actually do.
During the period of civil unrest of December, it varied depending on location but in general few days of class were lost. Much more days of class were lost during the various protests by teachers that became common after 2002, some valid claims, others not so much. As everything else education became a political matter so within the union they would sometimes fight among themselves for power or went on strike for political reasons (against a governor that didn’t support the president, for example) and the children where the ones to suffer the consequences. In some districts there were schools that lost one third of their days of school per calendar year. In some provinces it was as much as half the days they were supposed to have. This climate of corruption and political involvement has dominated the education system in Argentina in the last decade. The results are what you would expect. The quality of education has gone steadily down, going from one of the best latin American education systems before 2001 to one of the worst in the region as of today. As of today, only 31% of the children that started 1st grade ended up graduating from high school. Only 31% graduate!
It goes without saying, the great majority of Argentines ages 16 to 21 don’t understand what they read. That is, if they know how to read at all.
Politically speaking this was a huge success. Combining the destruction of the public education with the mandatory “citizen formation” class, the result is an ignorant generation that repeats “social”, “popular” and “welfare” like brainwashed zombies. It is no coincidence that Cristina Kirchner is pushing hard so as to change the voting age to 16.
Fighting for your Children´s Future
These are just a few of the things I learned along the way that may help you too. Many of the social engineering tools used in Argentina are techniques that have been used elsewhere and are still in use today. Combined with the economic crisis, there will be even more similarities. Already there’s problems with teachers in some places across America.
1)The public education system may not be what you want for your children. Not only is it lacking in education quality, the infrastructure suffers during a crisis. If you ever walked into the buildings of the Universidad of Buenos Aires in Ciudad Universitaria you know what I mean. Its like walking into and abandoned building after some nuclear disaster, and the survivors just use the concrete skeleton as classrooms. Its dirty, unfinished and crumbling to pieces. There’s no AC in there and the ancient elevators haven’t worked properly in decades.
In Argentina private schools are the only way to go and I believe that little by little this could be also true in other places as well where public education was once good. This will of course vary from depending on individual cases but in general expect public education to go down in quality.
2)Homeschooling. Some people like it, I believe that a good school complimented with good parenting is even better. Just keep in mind that during times when both parents are forced to go out to work, the stay at home mom may be a privilege not many can afford.
3)The new curriculum. In the school I went to we used to have “Target Shooting”… in school! The bus took the pupils to the Federal shooting Club and they shot with 22LR and Mauser 7,65 Argentine (yes, that´s actually a caliber) We even had an air rifle range next to the class rooms. In just a few decades times have certainly changed. Today classes like Citizen Education/Formation (or shall we say indoctrination) are the norm. Whatever school you send your kids to, remember that no school replaces parenting and the education that involves. I’m not talking about skills alone but teaching those things that in some cases are purposefully left out from schools. The importance of freedom, the importance of the individual, a moral compass and an understanding of how the truth is often deformed so as to fit whatever current agenda is being pushed.
4)Bullying. The increased violence in the streets will reflect in the classroom as well. Teach your kids how to stand for themselves and if needed, defend themselves. Its always the weakest kid others end up picking on, so teach your children to be strong of character. Be careful thought, its one thing to teach a child to defend himself and its another to have him being the Bully and picking on others.