AMERICA/VENEZUELA - Education, a natural antidote to the globalized crisis: the new school year begins in a critical context

Thursday, 28 October 2021 local churches   social situation   school   coronavirus  

Caracas (Agenzia Fides) - "Family and education: a common task" is the title of the message published by the Episcopal Commission for the family and Children and by the Episcopal Commission for University and Pastoral Education, on the occasion of the beginning of school year 2021-2022 in Venezuela, which takes place in person after a long period when classes were interrupted because of the pandemic. "This crisis with economic, cultural and social implications, leads us to think that we are facing a new anthropological crisis", is what is written in the introduction of the text, sent to Fides, which recalls the difficulties encountered by the family and the great creative commitment of Venezuelan schools, public and private, to continue to offer young people other educational opportunities, even if the limited fruits that have resulted are worrying. In the message, divided into 6 points, it is first emphasized that it is not possible to hide the reality: "We are plunged into a deep pandemic crisis that has acted as a detonator for other situations that aggravate the ills of our society". The number of Covid-19 infections remains high among the Venezuelan population, "the vaccination efforts have not been sufficient", teachers and school staff, like students, all must be vaccinated safely. It is also noted that the high cost of living has led to increasing school and professional desertion, that more and more children are working or living in poverty on the streets of cities, while the level of university education has deteriorated. "We do not hide our great concern for the start of the new school year - continues the text - To resume lessons in person, immersed in this pandemic, it is recommended that the recovery be progressive, staggered and diversified, taking into account the concerns from families, trade unions and educational sectors". Reaffirming that the beginning of lessons is necessary, because "without education, we will have a country without opportunities", the message highlights that in any case "it is necessary to have time to allow to plan the correct use of existing resources, with responsibility and creativity".
The third paragraph is dedicated "to Venezuelan teachers, unrecognized heroes", who are "victims of the complex humanitarian crisis that our people are experiencing", "without them there is no education". With today's pain, the teacher feels undervalued, helpless, demotivated, humiliated, under pressure. That is why we need to get out of this situation by taking care of teachers, providing them with decent salaries, social security, health care, lifelong learning opportunities, as well as a healthy, reliable and safe working environment. "We must all fight for quality teaching conditions: this is the environment in which our children are formed". The Venezuelan family has gradually experienced a deterioration in the quality of life, as a result of which many children and young people have been forced to drop out of school and work or beg. Many families have been shattered by emigration, and the transfer of school lessons at home due to Covid has highlighted the lack of family support, which has produced poor results for students. "In spite of everything, the conviction remains that the family is the basis for building the social fabric, in it resides the germ of a new Educational Pact". The conclusion reaffirms the Church's commitment to illuminate with the light of the word of God "the reality of Venezuelan education, so that it is integral and of quality", thus responding to the invitation of Pope Francis to a global pact for education: "as Catholics, we assume the commitment and the responsibility to make the educational vocation of society come alive, by inviting everyone to give more and better", so that education is "a natural antidote to the globalized crisis". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 28/10/2021)