A United Nations study on education in Honduras, published last June, reveals that since March 2020, some 310,000 students have dropped out of the country’s school system.
According to official data, only 68.2 per cent of schools in the land of pine trees had safe drinking water and 75 per cent had some kind of infrastructure problem.
Daniel Sponda, Minister of Education in Honduras, there are places that are called schools only because of their registration, but many children take classes under trees, so infrastructure conditions are a priority.
For this reason, the reconstruction of educational centres in Honduras is an option to rescue education, a right that has been diminished by the application of neoliberal policies during the governments prior to that of President Xiomara Castro.
For several months, the Honduran government has been trying to recover a sector that was almost forgotten after 12 years under the ignominy of corrupt governments, when almost half a million people were excluded from the education system.
“During the four years of my government, the focus will be on the reconstruction of educational centres by supporting projects to provide water and sanitation through community participation mechanisms,” she said.
On the other hand, limitations in access to and use of technology and internet connectivity contributed to further deepening inequality gaps, imposing a decades-long regression in schooling and increasing the risk of educational exclusion.
“The causes of school disengagement need to be clearly identified and studied, however, some issues that contribute to its existence are as much social and economic as they are infrastructural and violent,” the UN report noted.
For these reasons, Xiomara Castro advocated for the re-foundation of a different Honduras, with efforts focused on free, quality and equitable education for children and adolescents.
This has required financial assistance such as that provided by the Central American Bank for Economic Integration, which earlier this year, shortly after the inauguration of Honduras’ first woman president, approved a $73 million loan for the reconstruction of schools.
According to Castro, after seven months in power, the current government has reinstated free tuition, returned the school lunch programme and proceeded to open educational activities in more than 70 per cent of schools nationwide.
The leader of the Liberty and Refoundation (Libre) party alluded to the need to invest in more and better education through transparent public procurement, combating corruption, public tenders and the establishment of budgets for education.
In Honduras, the education system is strengthened with the acquisition of technological products that guarantee a better quality of learning for students.
Under the initiative promoted by Xiomara Castro in the digital transformation of education in the country, the education portfolio recently received 9,100 tablets and 1,24 computers. Financed by the Inter-American Development Bank, the procured electronic devices will benefit more than 10,000 students and teachers.
According to the minister, Honduras will start the pilot test of the National Programme for Digital Education Transformation in September, which will be implemented between this year and next.
Approximately 60 rural and urban schools in 16 of the 18 Honduran departments will participate in the project, reaching more than 9,000 basic education students.
(Translated by Cristina Popa – Email: email@example.com) – Photos: Pixabay