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Monday, July 28 2014 @ 10:34 PM EDT

About 9% of Panamanian School Students Held Back A Year (Phale...)

Schools & EducationDuring the 2011 school year in Panama a total of 63,359 students failed one or more subject. The Ministry of Education pointed out this is a lower number of failures than what was recorded in 2010, when 76,961 students flunked. According to official figures, this year 41,373 students failed three for fewer subjects, which means they had the right to attend summer school remedial courses. Meanwhile, 21,986 students failed four or more subjects, meaning they will have to repeat the school year (about 9% of all students). In 2010 about 49,504 students attended summer school remedial courses, while 27,457 students had to repeat the school year - so there were decreases in both categories this year. Marisin Chanis, the Regional Director of Education, said that despite the decrease compared with 2010, the figures are alarming.

Questions: Andres Rodriguez, the President of the Association of Teachers (ASOPROFE), said although the Government has invested in education they cannot expect effective results if these projects are not planned. Rodriguez said this year programs such as the "universal scholarship" have been implemented, as well as bonds, and the delivery of free books. (Siglo)

Editor's Comment: Get this - the subject failed by most students - Spanish. In any case, these numbers represent an overall decrease of 21.4% in the failure rate compared to last year. Panama's Minister of Education and the government overall is working hard to improve the school system. These efforts center on an overhaul of the national curriculum - which has been heavily resisted by the entrenched teacher's union - mostly because they don't want to have to learn new materials or be held accountable for their performance. Despite these complaints Lucy Molinar has soldiered on. And this is the first time in a long time that I genuinely feel that the Panamanian school system will be better once she's done than when she started. By comparison, two former Education Ministers who served under the PRD administration of Martin Torrijos are facing corruption charges for embezzling money that was supposedly going to be used to clean "fiberglass contamination" from public schools. They were obviously more interested in stealing public funds than improving the public school system.

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