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Very few pass new Government re-qualifying test for teachers in Peru.[]

The BBC World Service, La Republica and El Comercio all initially gave startlingly low figures for the percentage passing the Ministry of Education’s requirement that teachers ‘requalify’.Less than 1%. Whilst agreeing that this percentage does not look particularly good in the world’s media and noting some of the reasons given (See next paragraph.) it is not the job of Minka – in part a voice for Peruvians abroad – to pontificate on the thorniest of Peru’s problems (which coincidentally seems to be true for many other countries including the United Kingdom): the low quality of schooling for many if not most of the population.

Why 1%?[]

The Ministry employed ESAN, a noted post-graduate Business School, to compile the test. Critics say ESAN doesn’t have the experience to do this. Others say the Ministry intervened in what was supposed to be an independent exercise.

SUTEP, the main teachers’ union, reacted at first by threatening a strike, then suggesting a boycott and then others suggested non-cooperation by ‘spoiling’ the test. Did the teachers intentionally fail?

Many teachers say that it is not primarily the teacher’s knowledge at fault but other factors: the millions of soles wasted in bureaucracy, the poverty of some family backgrounds, changing moral standards in society, lack of resources for education infrastructure, the poor quality of the Ministry’s own learning materials, textbooks etc, discipline in schools, teacher’s salaries, failure to attract the best university graduates into the profession, the politicisation of teaching or less tangible factors like intellectual ambience, transculturation processes, linguistic diglossia and so on.

90% looking for better schools[]

Over 90% put access to better education as one of their top two priorities when taking the decision to migrate (DESCO – Que Hacer survey). For some, though, it was ‘out of the frying pan into the fire’. A family migrated from the sierra to find the schools in Lima a disappointment; they then onward-migrated to Los Angeles to find their kids caught up in street-gang, anti-learning culture. However many have benefited from migration. Is there anything that can be done from abroad to support the many good initiatives already on the table in Peru? Readers of Minkanews would be interested to hear of your ideas, suggestions and experiences – especially if you are a teacher, in the Ministry, in SUTEP, in ESAN or have been involved with the test in any way. Record your experience and concrete, helpful, constructive, positive suggestions below.

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