Maruja Gorday de Villalobos,
The economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic have forced thousands of students from private schools to plan to migrate to public schools says Panama’s Ministry of Eduction. (Meduca)
Education Minister Maruja Gorday de Villalobos, reports that so far over 2,300 students from private schools have requested a place in the public sector.
There are some 160,000 students in private schools and ir is anticipated that 10-20% will seek to transfer. During a session in the Budget Committee of the National Assembly, The Minister said that in recent months they held more than 30 meetings with parents and owners of private schools.
The private sector presented a proposal in July, asking Meduca for $100 per student to face the difficult situation that some families have. "I had to break the news that the Meduca funds did not have the capacity for that demand," she said.
She said that any support for private schools would be in conjunction with the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF)which has been very clear that at this time that amount is not available.” she said.
The Ministry fas asked private schools for information on how many parents lost their jobs during the health crisis.
The vice president of the National Union of Private Schools (Uncep), Kathya Echeverría, said that they view the current situation with "great concern"
"We understand that there are many needs in public schools, but we ask the Government to also look at private schools where there are also children of Panamanians," Echeverría argued.