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Thursday, April 17 2014 @ 11:32 AM EDT

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Classes Are Still Suspended At The Instituto Nacional

Schools & EducationThe National Director of Education, Marisín Chanis, said today classes remain suspended until further order at the Instituto Nacional, after riots on campus yesterday.

Chanis said the Ministry of Education will act according to the law against this small group, which, she says, is causing harm to all of the students in the school.

The National Director of Education said that all of the 19 students who were detained by the Juvenile Police and eventually turned over to their parents after the protests, were enrolled in the National Institute in a "conditional academic state," and they must be aware of the day the institute sets a meeting.

Chanis said the parents knew this because they were warned when they enrolled their children that these students could not show indiscipline or have poor grades.

The National Education Director also said the National Police did not fire tear gas, and the Ministry of Education requested their help in evacuating the students, and helping parents to arrive at the school. (TVN)

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Classes At The Instituto Nacional Are Suspended Until Further Notice

Schools & EducationClasses at the Instituto Nacional of Panama, will be suspended until further notice from the Ministry of Education (Meduca), after a group of students went out a second day to protest on the streets

The Director General of Education, Marisín de Chanis, attributed these actions to students who were expelled earlier and are infiltrating within the school.

Marisín, for security of staff and students, took the decision to close the campus.

Marisín said that students do not agree with the protests taking place over the issue of transport and also with the transfer of the flag used during the struggle of January 9th.

Marisín also said "student who participates in these acts will be expelled".

She added that they are choosing the new principal of the campus and in the coming hours she will meet with Minister Lucy Molinar to address the situation. (Panama America)

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Panama's President Martinelli Closes Oxford International University By Executive Order

Schools & EducationThe President Ricardo Martinelli, and Education Minister Lucy Molinar, signed the decree necessary to cancel the operation of the Oxford International University, an organization which was granted authorization to begin operations on 15 February 2005 by Executive Decree.

The document was published in the Official Gazette on Monday March 11, notes that once granted the authorization for the operation of an educational institution, in this case the university should not spend more than two years to start operations.

The decision was based on Article 108 of the said Executive Order, and Resolution 583 of 4 December 2012, which was communicated to the legal representatives of the Oxford International University on this measure. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: In recent months the government of Panama has closed about five of these "universities" which in fact were little more than diploma mills. They had a web presence and little else.

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ATTT Has A Plan For Student Metro Bus Cards (After Director Got Fired)

Schools & EducationAfter the problems encountered with the renovation of school cards used by students to board the Metro Bus transportation system, which ended with the resignation of Ventura Vega from his position as the Director of the Transit Authority, the institution announced a series of measures to expedite delivery of cards.

Roberto Moreno, deputy director of the ATTT, reported that as of this weekend they will begin a "Plan of Action" where specialized care centers (CAE) will be open on Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 am to 6 pm.

While Monday through Friday they are extending the hours of 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. The plan will remain until Sunday March 10, then they will return to their regular schedule.

They will also make available to parents a special free round trip service from the areas of 24 de Diciembre and Felipillo to the CAE in La Doña.

They will also do the same thing from the areas of Mano de Piedra and Santa Librada to the stand in Torrijos Carter.

In these places parents and students will be able to renew their 2013 cards and also apply for those who are seeking their first cards to be issued.

To renew the student cards, the guardians must bring the 2012 card with no balance, a copy of their 2013 school registration form, and a copy of the identity document of guardian.

To apply for the first time, parents should go to Mi Bus courtyard in Los Pueblos, Chorrillo, La Doña and Ojo de Agua, bringing with them a copy of the student's 2013 registration and a copy of the guardian's identification card.

The old 2012 student cards will be revalidated until March 28, and to recharge them they can go to any box office. After this date they will not work. (TVN)

Editor's Comment: The Director of the ATTT lost his job over this issue. There are about 800,000 school students in Panama and many of them use the Metro Bus system to get to school. The former director dropped the ball and was not ready for Monday morning. C'ya...

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The Five Stars Academy Vegetable Garden!

Schools & EducationThe Five Stars Academy vegetable garden was the setting for a good, old-fashioned carrot-pickin’ yesterday afternoon. Students from Kindergarten through Middle School got their hands dirty picking carrots from the school’s raised organic vegetable beds.

In addition to intense studies using a U.S.-based curriculum, Five Stars focuses on an appreciation of basic self-reliance skills including farming and gardening skills.

“I really like gardening. I haven’t done it much before. It was cool to see the seeds I planted grow into carrots. Some of my friends took the carrots home to eat and others decided to feed them to our school rabbits.” Ronan, Grade 7 student

“This unique Five Stars experience is one that I’ve not had the opportunity to be a part of before as a teacher from the U.S. The students were able to learn about biology, nutrition, and earth science by planting, cultivating and harvesting their own organic produce.” Jenna, Teacher at Five Stars Academy

The Five Stars Academy is a full-English school certified by Panama’s Minister of Education offering a U.S.-based curriculum from Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 9.

Located in Santa Clara, Cocle – just 20 minutes from the entrance to Coronado - our American teachers bring their Master’s of Education experience and enthusiasm to every part of the classroom.

For more information, please visit the website www.fivestarsacademy.com or call 6611.9510.



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Requirements To Renew Student Metro Bus Cards Were Instituted By ATTT and MEDUCA

Schools & EducationThe manager of the company Sonda, Daniel Guerra, blamed the Ministry of Education and the Transit Authority, for not having issued the notification with enough time, to explain what has to be done for school students to renew the cards they use to ride the Metro Bus system.

Guerra said on the Telemetro Reports morning news broadcast that as a provider of the service, they were just informed of the details about the renewal procedures last week, and they just received the order to proceed for its implementation.

As for the complaints being made by parents, because they must present the school registration form as part of the formalities required for the renewal of the card, Guerra said this was done by the ATTT and the Meduca, and this was done in order to ensure that the person who receives the benefit (of the lower bus fare) is the student.

For her part, the Minister of Education Lucy Molinar criticized the date this information was made public, and she even confirmed that since learning about this issue she has been seeking to have a meeting with the Transit Authority, but it has not been possible. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: School kids can ride the Metro Buses for only 10 cents, but they have to have one of the electronic swipe cards that has been issued specifically to them.

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Stumbling Blocks At The Start Of The School Year

Schools & EducationAmid deteriorating school buildings, today formally starts the school year for 700,000 students in public schools in the country.

Maria Pineda, national director of Engineering and Architecture, of the Ministry of Education (Meduca) reported that about 60% of the country's public schools need repair.

According to the official, 900 schools need minor repairs and 46 will need major repairs this year. "For this we have a budget of $2 million," said Pineda.

However, a campus that is not in the immediate plans for Meduca to repair is the Benjamin Alvarez Gonzalez school on Taboga Island.

In this school the blue railings have been corroded by salt and are about to fall, the teacher's bedrooms are leaking, and the pump that supplies water to the school has been damaged since late last year.

The problems at the school are evident. The last time a large repair was done was in 2006, explained Edilsa Paneso, president of the parents club. (Prensa)

Editor's Comment: One thing you can always find in Panama is a school that's in need of repair. There are about 800,000 students in public schools in Panama and there are thousands of schools scattered all around the country. The Ministry of Education is working as hard as they can to keep these schools repaired and maintained, but the news media outlets who are owned and operated by the political opposition to the CD and Ricardo Martinelli do everything they can to only report the negatives.

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Traffic Authorities Getting Ready For The Start Of The New School Year

Schools & EducationThe Director of Operations of Transit, Aldo Macre said that for Monday 25 February, the start of the new school year, they will focus on the traffic flow from the outskirts of the capital city, in the areas to the East and West.

Macre said the change this year will be the Southern Corridor, where will the presence and implementation of the electronic payment cards has been effective, but traffic congestion occurs once you pass this area.

He said traffic control officers will also be assigned to the areas near the schools to safeguard the passage of pedestrians.

They will be joined by the administrative staff who will come to work at 5:00 am and will be supporting from 5:30 am until 7:30 am, and then again from 11:30 am until 1:30 pm, said Macre on the Telemetro Report news program.

They will also continue with operations to change the direction of the flow of traffic on Via Israel, near the Don Bosco school, until Calle 53, in Hossana and in the Via Santa Elena.

Small School Buses Will Be Inspected - The Director of the Land Transport Authority, Ventura Vega, said starting on Monday they will start to inspect the small school buses that are used by the different schools, which will be given a sticker that will identify them as being fit to provide the service.

They will check to make sure that the buses have a fire extinguisher, radio (only what comes installed in the car), tinted windows must be type 2, tires will be checked, and the buses must be painted yellow.

As for the special student cards for the Metro Bus, a census was conducted, and they will be given to those students who have a need. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: It's always a massive gaggle on Monday morning, the first day of the new school year. I will be working from home until well into the mid morning, to avoid the pain.

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Getting Schools Ready For New Year Of Classes

Schools & EducationThe Academic Vice Minister of Education, Mirna de Crespo, said today the entity is making efforts to get schools ready for Monday February 25, the day scheduled for the beginning of the new school year, but she also admitted that not all of the schools will be ready.

"Professor Lopez (referring to criticism launched by the teachers' union leader Luis Lopez) knows that 100% of the schools has never been ready for the first day of school, and that each school has a different specification," she said.

De Crespo revealed that 900 schools are on a list waiting to be repaired and that they are building more classrooms.

According to the official, the MEDUCA is waging "an impossible fight", colored by how accessible are the schools in the capital city and those in remote locations. (Estrella)

Editor's Comment: This is another one of those "happens every year at this time" stories. In the week before the start of the academic school year, there will be news articles about how many schools are ready, repairs that are being done, etc.

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2.2% Of Panamanian Youth Can't Read or Write

Schools & Education Illiterate youth accounted for 2.2% of the young population of the country, although some who were able to attend school several years still failed to learn to read or write, according to the Multi Purpose Survey conducted by the National Institute of Statistics and Census, in March 2012.

An analysis by the Ministry of Economy and Finance of the results of this survey, contrasts this number of youths with the fact that obligatory education in Panama begins with pre-school (two years), continues with the basic or primary education (six years), and ends at the pre-middle or junior high school (three years). Therefore, all students should be receiving a total of 11 years of compulsory education.

In 1995, only primary school was compulsory. As with the obligatory levels, middle school or the higher levels of high school is free of charge at public schools.

Most young people have achieved what is required in the Constitution of the country for compulsory education. According to the Survey, the years of education averaged 11.0 for young people across the country. However, these results vary by area and provinces. Young people in urban areas on average received 3.3 years more of education than those who live in the countryside.

In some provinces, the average years of education of young people exceeded or were equal to the national average; in Panama (11.8), Los Santos (11.4) and Chiriqui (11.2 years). But other accumulated fewer years of education, mainly in Darien (8.4 years) and in the indigenous regions (all under 7 years).

In the MEF study, it is highlighted that women gained more years of eduction (11.3 years) than men (10.6 years), and that 60.5% reached high school or attend college, compared to 51.9% of men. Inequalities were observed in favor of female literacy, especially among those who lived in the indigenous regions and the provinces of Bocas del Toro and Darien. The most dramatic difference was in the Ngöbe Buglé, where the rate of illiteracy among youth reached 24.6%, and 8.7% among men.

56.3% of young people across the country managed to finish high school and move on to the university level, or non-university higher (vocational) education. In urban areas the proportion (66.9%) was double that of rural areas (33.6%).

The reasons for higher education in urban areas could be related to the fact that many schools are located closer to communities, there is a greater vigilance to ensure compliance with the compulsory education at the basic and pre-middle levels, and the better economic conditions in households.

Significantly, in the indigenous regions, the proportion of young people complete secondary education and higher education was lower: 7.9% in the Embera, 10.5% in the Kuna Yala and 11.7% in the Ngobe Bugle. Specifically, most in Kuna Yala managed to complete primary school and advance to some years of secondary school.

The Embera and Ngobe Bugle, a larger proportion of young people failed to finish primary education or the most they accomplished was to complete that level. The lower level of education in the indigenous regions was associated with the economic constraints of their homes, the distance from their homes to schools, language barriers, the involvement of minors in household enterprises, all factors which prevent or limit their school attendance. (Estrella)

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