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Digital gap among the challenges of education in Panama

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Digital gap among the challenges of education in Panama

Panama City, Jul 5 (Prensa latina) UN experts said that inequality in access to computers and Internet services is one of the challenges of the education system in Panama.
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According to the coordinator in Panama of the National Human Development Report of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Martin Fuentes, in two years of confinement by Covid-19, the results of the virtual classes were not as expected: the educational backwardness is greater than the country had before the pandemic.

Fuentes revealed that in the last six months of 2021 the percentage of use of laptops and tablets was very low, because if in the provinces of Panama and Panama Oeste it barely reached 50%, in the rest of the demarcations and indigenous districts it did not even exceed 10%.

He also acknowledged progress in terms of Internet access through the purchase of data, but this makes it difficult for it to be a permanent service to which the entire population has access.

The arguments of the UNDP expert confirm a study by the Center for Educational Research of Panama (Ciedu), which states that in 2020 at least seven out of 10 students in official schools did not have a computer at home, and four out of 10 did not have internet at home.

On the other hand, statistics from the Ministry of Education indicate that in 2020 some 10,643 students were not linked to the system; that is, 1,4% of the student population.

The situation originated despite the fact that the institution put into operation the Ester platform and the internet and mobile data plan that would benefit, at no cost, students and teachers of the official sector with the use of the WhatsApp social network and access to technological platforms, among others.

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