Panama’s private schools who do not march in the November 3 and 4 parades next year will not have their graduation certificates recognized.
The blunt threat came from President Ricardo Martinelli at the start of the Flag Day paraded on Thursday November 4.
Speaking to media near the presidential palace the President appeared visibly angry.
Some 48 private schools formed part of the 102 schools that marched along the two main routes in Panama City to celebrate Flag Day.
The previous day they marched to mark Panama’s separation from Columbia 107 years ago.
Schools were monitored by inspectors to check recently imposed dress codes, including skirt lengths and to assess performance of bands.
"I send a message loud and clear to schools who have not participated in parades," said the president.
He added that he had instructed the Minister of Education, Lucy Molinar, that in the next school year there will be no recognition of graduation
certificates or approval of the school year for non participating schools.
Nivia Rossana Castrellon, president of the National Union of Private Educational Institutions, said that the country had 889 private schools, and not all go, questioned if there is a law that supports the President's position.
Lucy Molinar on hearing the president’s statement said they can not do anything that the
law does not allow them, and she will review this issue and get legal advice for the Ministry of Education, but she said participation in the parades will be mandatory in 2011.