Approximately 803,760 students began the 2016 school year today in 4,135 buildings, 2/3 of which seem to be falling to pieces. It’s big news today on social media (the pictures below are from the Twitterverse) and the national television channels. 318 million dollars has been set aside for infrastructure repair, but in a school in North Panama people marched to protest the sad state of the campus. In another area teachers, parents and school students closed a road around the school demanding improvements on campus. We’ve watched the news in recent weeks showing schools with classrooms piled high with chattara (that’s junk Mom). It’s not good when all over the country people are being warned to end breeding grounds for mosquitoes and one of the worst offenders in the Ministry of Education. But hey, if the Education Minister says that more than 95% of the schools are safe and ready to take students, it’s all good, right? There are also plans to build 50 new schools and by 2019 the government expects to have trained more than 10,000 teachers in English advancing their plan to make Panama bilingual.
The government wants everyone excited about education no matter what their income level or living situation. President Juan Carlos Varela, attended the inaugural ceremony of the new school year at a renovated school in Calidonia and visited a couple of other schools while other government ministers were spread throughout various schools in the country for other ceremonies.
I’m also taking some classes. On line. It’s amazing how many classes there are out there that you can take for free. This one will be complete by early May and I got my first lesson of the course yesterday. I guess because it’s a University of Queensland technically it was today, but really it was yesterday. Confused yet? I’ve also signed up for a WordPress Blogging University on Photography, so be ready for many pictures in the coming month. I’m not trying to fill my days, just to expand my mind a bit. And something structured such as a class keeps me from getting lazy. My philosophy is that I don’t think one is ever too old to learn a little something new…in the campo.