Maria Brown Perez: “We need to return to education as a collective reality and get out of the grading box”

Maria Brown Perez: “We need to return to education as a collective reality and get out of the grading box”
Maria Brown Perez, Minister of Education of Ecuador (Photo: Mateo de Franco)

In Guayaquil. Special delivery. On April 26, 2021, Ecuador’s brand new president tweeted, Guillermo LazoHe said that Maria Brown Perez He is going to be the country’s education minister, with whom they are going to “work tirelessly for educational opportunities at all levels. Children and youth Ecuador “They will get a quality education.” The tweet was closed with the country’s flag as a symbol of belonging and pride.

Two and a half years and three days later, the Kumbabhishekam took place after that election Daniel Nobowa As the next president of the republic, the minister was inside In GuayaquilAt the swearing-in ceremony New Frontiers Summit: Education 360Organized by the National Government through the Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation Secretariat. Virtual education. It is a special day for the city and the minister, because, on the one hand, the summit is presented as a great opportunity to work on the transformation of education, but for her, the last public events of her administration begin.

Brown Pérez, who holds a degree in international relations from the University of San Andrés in Buenos Aires and a master’s degree in special education from the Equinoxial Technological University, visited the position. Digmas Attended the summit and spoke about his role.

His participation in the summit includes balance, exercise mindfulness. If I were to ask you two or three facts about your management, what would you highlight?

– was a major milestone Back to the front After the epidemic. In-person classes were suspended for two years in Ecuador, one of the countries with the longest suspensions, and resuming in-person classes was the biggest challenge. The support of the President is essential. Discontinuation has had a very significant impact on the level of learning, and therefore, the second milestone is a job Leveling and Learning Recovery Strategy. In addition, it is necessary to identify students who have dropped out – or not – and bring them into the education system. 50,000 will restore balance. This is one of the most important elements of content achieved within management. Third, without a doubt, I will close the administration: distribution New National Curriculum and the reform of the evaluation model, which is a fundamental change.

Maria Brown Perez highlights three achievements of her administration: the return to in-person attendance, the strategy to level and restore learning, and the introduction of the new national curriculum (Photo: Mateo Di Franco)

I have already asked you about the curriculum, but firstly, in relation to learning, the UNESCO report for the entire region indicates that the level of reading comprehension of boys and girls has decreased. Ecuador is not the most decadent country, but it is said that one in two children in third grade do not understand what they are reading. What plans has the Ministry put forward to reverse this situation?

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– The report you refer to is prepared on the basis of a comparative study Latin American Laboratory for the Evaluation of the Quality of Education (LLECE) of UNESCO. With Ecuador being part of that assessment, we can compare our results favorably over time. However, the last LLECE trial was in 2018 and the recently published results were pre-pandemic.

It can be assumed that the new data will give a more significant drop.

Ecuador is more or less the territorial limit. Close to average, sometimes slightly above. Through our assessments locally, we found that students in lower elementary school showed more lag in time to acquire reading comprehension than would be expected for children of the same age. Pre-infectious age. We also have relevant information about what worked and what didn’t, because one of the “benefits” of being a global emergency is that there is more research and more dissemination of this information. He Inter-American Development BankThe same UNESCO, examined methods of teaching reading that have the best impact in the least amount of time. As we know today, the approaches work best phonetic system.

Did they work on literacy with a holistic approach?

– We are abandoning that approach and focusing on working methods, for which we are going to use strategies that have already worked in other countries. For example, we have an agreement with Ministry of Education of Chile, to use the resources in your reading level plan. Another change is in the assessment, which now gives more weight to reading comprehension and fluency skills. We have tried to develop a mechanism Learning poverty early warnings So let’s not wait until the end of the school year, realizing that we are facing difficulties and establishing mechanisms for psychological and educational and pedagogical support.

Did they incorporate hours of reading?

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-He joined One hour of reading per week It is not aimed at standardization, but rather to provide a designated place for the academic community to study. Because that’s another one of the challenges Our teachers read very little: We did a survey and many people said they don’t read even one book a year. To teach a love of reading, we as teachers must first have it. Therefore, we need to promote spaces for teachers to study and act as role models for students.

Does this also apply to the use of technology and artificial intelligence?

—Prove by example: Undoubtedly, this is one of the means. But in many cases students themselves can easily access knowledge in these areas, and I believe it should be complementary to provide an example of responsible use. Do a practice with humility. Sometimes we as teachers learn from children and it is very important to keep ourselves in a position of humility to observe, learn, listen and then plan accordingly. We need to monitor mastery of techniques and see how to reinforce the knowledge of other students in the classroom, perhaps with a student who already has that strength.

Minister María Brown Pérez participated in a panel with Andrea Mondalvo (Secretary of Senesit) at the New Frontiers Summit.

What is the relationship between high school and university?

– In the reform that we are going to present, there is a comprehensive change of the high school. Students have the opportunity to specialize in areas of their interest A professional future. Over the years, we have had a technical baccalaureate that focused heavily on industrial and agricultural technologists, and what we are doing is expanding the opportunity to specialize in other areas of scientific and humanistic knowledge, so they can focus, for example, on health sciences, education and other fields they may choose at university. There is a more solid foundation for the going business. It is not a simple change, and Universities themselves need to rethink their careers According to the level or profile the student is coming out of. In other words, pronunciation is not only the responsibility of secondary education but also the responsibility of higher education.

Why did they remove the integrated examination for university entrance?

—By abolishing examination, we gave autonomy to universities. Not to be confused with no admission process. Many times citizens confuse this and think that there is absolutely free access. That is not the case. But still Access is now more democratic, because students can choose as many universities as they want and do as many jobs as they want. But they have to go through the admission process. The university regains autonomy.

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Years ago it was said that in the future, half of the jobs for children in school will not be created. It is said that 50% of the jobs will disappear in the future. It’s the same idea, but from a pessimistic perspective. How does elementary school prepare students for this uncertain environment?

– If we want different results, we have to do things differently.

Achieving change in the classroom is a major challenge. We come from, to a large extent, a residual education system. A “bank” model. To use the curricular reform we propose, there should be more than just change That taught, but in as It teaches. And this as It depends on the teacher in front of that classroom.. An important element in this reform is the surveys we conducted with young people: what they want to learn, the main challenges they see in the world and what their education system is. Many times we adults talk to ourselves Young people are the main beneficiaries And the main actor in the process. One of their main concerns is sustainable development and having a comfortable and safe educational environment. We have to start over Education as a social realityAs a collective reality and try to get out of the box of standardization of processes, standardization of assessment.

Is Ecuador too expensive to support education as a dollar country?

Ecuador invests a little more than 3% Gross domestic product In elementary and secondary education. This is much lower than the constitutionally established rate of 6%. But for me, rather than the percentage, it is important to evaluate the investment per student. Precisely because it is a dollarized country, We have an average teacher salary Regional. A major investment in public education is teacher pay, which is very good. Investment in technology, investment in professional teacher training, will not depend on government change, the challenge is to maintain investment in these transformative sectors. Ecuador’s main challenge is that investment in education should be a policy of the state, not a policy of the state.


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