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On Wednesday, February 19, the Foro Educativo Nicaragüense (EDUQUEMOS) and the Consejo Superior de la Empresa Privada (COSEP), with the support of PREAL and IBIS Dinámica, presented the 2014 Report Card on Education in Nicaragua, “Quality and Equity for Human Development” (in Spanish).
The report seeks to place national education challenges, factors that have helped facilitate improvement, and factors that have hindered progress within the national debate on education. The analysis focuses on access, equity, retention, performance on international learning assessments, the evaluation system, curriculum, the teaching profession, decentralization, and investment. It also highlights elements of education on the Caribbean Coast to represent the multiethnic, multilingual and pluricultural nature of the country; as well as an analysis of technical and higher education as critical areas of development.
Dr. Ernesto Medina Sandino, president of EDUQUEMOS and of the Universidad Americana (UAM), stated that some key indicators suggest that there has been progress, but not enough. “The document is an invitation to redouble our efforts to make things better, to better focus education policy, because we think most of them have given what they can, and it is time to rethink things better so that we can move forward on issues such as enrollment, and attract children who remain outside of the system.”
Concerning the study, Dr. Ariel Fiszbein, director of PREAL and guest of honor, said that although there has been significant progress made toward increasing enrollment, more effort is needed to increase the quality of learning. Without this, Nicaragua – and all countries of Latin America – will continue to lag behind.
“Enrollment is a necessary, but it is not sufficient. If children are not in school it’s bad news, but it is not enough to simply bring them to schools if conditions are not being created within those schools for learning to occur,” expressed Fiszbein.
For his part, COSEP President José Adán Aguerri expressed that the private sector is taking a more active role in education.
“What has been a bilateral effort with academia, today we want to be at a much higher level where the different actors participate and get involved in this need to have not only a more competitive economy, but one that is accompanied by more competitive education… This is why we are supporting EDUQUEMOS, promoting partnership with universities, and are now creating a working group with INATEC. We are waiting to hear back from the government on our proposal to hold discussions between academia, the private sector, and the government.”
The event was widely attended by representatives and officials of donor organizations, the diplomatic corps, the private sector, academia, civil society organizations, and the media.
During Fiszbein’s visit, he; Medina; Rosa María Vivas, the executive director of EDUQUEMOS; and board members met with leading business groups in the country; the COSEP board of directors; and members of the AMCHAM board of directors, chaired by organization president Alfredo Artiles. They also visited leading companies in digital inclusion such as the Telefónica and Zamora Terán Foundations.