Educational transformation is a project led by the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Education and Sciences, the Technical Secretariat for Planning and the Management Unit of the Presidency of the Republic, together with sectors of civil society.
Unlike the educational reform that began in the 1990s, this project will seek to comprehensively transform all aspects of the educational system: from portfolio management to infrastructure and student welfare, as announced by the Ministry of Education and Sciences. This month the draft of the second national agreement on the design of the strategy of Educational Transformation Paraguay 2030 is debated.
In the midst of this process of debate, the initiative gained detractors and questions regarding the legality of the commission that leads the process and, above all, the educational diagnosis that was carried out within the framework of the initiative.
Jesuit Father Jesús Montero Tirado, an expert in education, discussed the creation by decree of a strategic committee to develop the National Plan for Educational Transformation, despite the fact that the National Council for Education and Science constitutes the only body with the “right and obligation” to propose reforms or accompany processes.
“(The committee) is created by decree 1083 of the year 2019 and is violating articles of the general education law and the organic law of the MEC, specifically 5749. There it is clearly stated that the only body with the right and obligation to propose reforms and accompany the process is the National Council of Education and Science. That council is responsible, but the committee has usurped its functions and obligations.”
In this sense, Montero Tirado regretted that the Conec remains inactive and has not renewed its authorities for years.
“The authorities of the Conec are appointed by the President of the Republic, prior approval of Congress. This tool must act as a council of the State, since it has the approval of the two powers”, he stressed.
Given these alleged legal irregularities, the acts that were carried out within the framework of the educational transformation plan are practically null and void, emphasized the education specialist.
IT IS A “FRAUD”
In addition to the legal questions, Montero criticized the use of a PISA report, dating from 2017, as a diagnosis of educational transformation.
“That’s not diagnostic. That is a comment to a foreign report that speaks of a small point of the many problems. The diagnosis does not allude, for example, to the problem of political interference in education, beginning with the invasion of political operators in the Ministry”, she explained.
The departmental supervisors and advisers would be fundamental components of the problem, analyzed Montero.
“Politicians, senators and deputies, influence by involving their political operators. Lugo, for example, when he was in power created 284 more officials than there were. Since he couldn’t appoint them without a contest, he called them dispatch managers. He put 284 political operatives in charge of supervisors,” he explained.
Along the same lines, the education specialist assured that most of these officials have “nothing to do” with the educational field.
“It is impossible for education to work, if in a period of a year and a half we always have a change of ministers. In five years, this Government has three ministers. When the head begins to find out what is going on, the Ministry leaves and another enters, ”he said.
The inclusion of the educational community and, above all, the family in the process of educational transformation is crucial, but the current plan does not contemplate this crucial role, said the specialist.
In order to carry out a true educational transformation, it is necessary to analyze the structure of the educational system, which has severe deficiencies, Montero said.
“The current pedagogy or the curricular design, which guides what has to be done in the classroom, proposes a reality that does not even have the scientific foundation of the basic sciences”; he assured her.
The curricular model of the transformation plan would also not include the basic sciences and allegedly lacks basic tools such as philosophy or psychology.
“None of these basic sciences are included, let alone cutting-edge sciences such as neuroscience or neuroeducation and genetics. Pedagogically, this document has no scientific foundation. They are amateurs,” he concluded.