With no end in sight to the coronavirus pandemic, school districts from Europe to New Jersey have been teaching virtually, the idea being that educating children must not stop, no matter how imperfect the instruction.
Then there is remote and largely rural Bolivia.
There the government has just announced a far more extreme approach. It flat out canceled the school year, which comes to a close at the end of November, saying the internet connections just weren’t good enough for virtual classrooms. If parents are worried that their children will be held back, Interim President Jeanine Áñez says not to worry because the government plans to pass everyone to the next grade level anyway.
“There’s no other option than to close the school year,” said Yerko Núñez, a government minister. “The fiber optics, unfortunately, only reach the cities.”
I honestly just don’t get the attitude (prevalent in Seattle) that if you can’t teach everyone, you teach no one. Wouldn’t the best choice for Bolivia be to teach children in cities? Furthermore, the median age in Bolivia is only 25, and I bet it’s lower in rural areas. (Our median age is 38.) I bet the death rate in Bolivia would be quite low from Coronavirus even if medical care there is inferior to what it is in wealthier countries.
(In case you’re wondering why, for example, there hasn’t been an explosion of cases in places like India, I’m guessing asymptomatic and mild cases in an overwhelmingly young population is a huge driver.)
From the article:
Ms. Áñez, also a presidential candidate, acknowledged the problems the decision creates for parents. “It is very difficult, but we’re doing this to ensure the health of Bolivians, especially our children,” she said in a video posted on her Twitter account.
Sound familiar? I find it very difficult to believe that Covid poses and greater threat to the children of Bolivia than it does the children of America, who are having virtual instruction to preserve their health. How heartwarming that everyone is so concerned about the children.