Over the last 4 months, Guatemala has been immobilized through various government restrictions. This has had enormous effects on the whole education community as well. Schools were closed down quite quickly and had to make adjustments towards a virtual education setting. This led the INCE consortium to reflect on a digitalized future, and they have great plans!
Challenges for teachers, administrators and children
Closing the schools meant a number of challenges for teachers. All of the sudden needing to teach remotely, learning to use new virtual tools where possible, dealing with poorinternet connections, while simultaneously running their own households has not been easy. It has also been challenging for school administrations, for parents needing to adjust to a home school environment and perhaps most of all for children, who now needed to follow distance education.
INCE consortium continued working
Right before and during these last months, the INCE consortium in Guatemala has continued engaging through its members with the Ministry of Education to present them with a now finished manual for teachers within the school improvement program which is being developed.
Reflecting on the future: digitization
Understanding the context, the consortium reflected on the future. Whereas previously the Ministry would not be very open to digital products, this crisis situation has opened mindsets around the world about the role of digital products in education and work. And that presents enormous opportunities to join alongside the Ministry to work on products and programs that complement each other and ensure equity and quality in education for students.
The consortium has been working on the digitization of the manual, which they want to develop for a pilot project within the public sector. The pilot would focus not only on making the manual available digitally, but also making sure it is presented in such a way that we achieve the same interaction we would have if it would be printed and would be worked on by teachers in a group setting.
Additionally, the focus will be on having added components which are important in a covid-19 context where teachers cannot interact face-to-face with students. For this pilot project a proposal is being written towards an Education focused Foundation for funding.
Keeping focus on systematic difference
In the meantime, as this pilot is being developed further, the consortium continues working on the following years of the school improvement program. The challenges are there, but opportunities also present itself. The key is to continue being focused on making that systematic difference in Education for future generations in Guatemala!