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Thursday, November 15 2018 @ 10:42 PM UTC

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School Principal Suspended After Wall Collapse Kills Student

Schools & EducationThe Regional Director of Education, of the Ministry of Education, Federico Castro, said the principal of the El Japón school, Zaida Palacios, has been placed on vacation, after a wall collapsed at the school last week, killing one student and injuring two others. During a meeting held with the teachers of the school, the official said the teacher, Aristides de Gracia, who teaches in the sixth grade, is now responsible for the management of the school. He also said that on Wednesday he will be meeting with the teachers and a team to establish psycho therapy for the children, parents and the teachers themselves, so that classes will resume on Friday. (Panama America)

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Survival or Integration? The Road to Spanish Fluency

Schools & EducationLearning Spanish as a foreign resident should top your list if you're relocating in Panama. I mean, if you're living in a Spanish speaking country, it makes sense to be able to speak Spanish, doesn't it? Or do you only want to hang out with your gringo friends? Come on, life can be more exciting than that... becoming part of the local community is being able to relate, socialize, share and really feel part of the environment that surrounds you.

Wouldn't it be great to be able to make simple requests without offending your new neighbor? Or even better, understand the joke that everbody is laughing about? Wouldn't you like to negotiate a deal without coming across as rude, or to ask for a discount without sounding cheap? If you're moving to Panama, speaking Spanish to local trades people, builders, utility companies, or when setting up a business, means you will get superior, faster service and you will be in a better position to deal with things if they wrong. Knowing the language also opens up endless new friendships, and a deeper understanding of the Panamanian culture.

Habla Ya's 2012 2x1 Special Promotion for Panama Residents

Convinced that your life in Panama will be a whole lot better if you learn Spanish? So, what do you have to do to get there? First of all, practice: A LOT, everyday. If you want to learn any language, practice is the key. Second of all, get yourself a good Spanish teacher: a native, university educated Spanish teacher, with plenty of experience and proper training. After that, do what she says: don't skip class, do your homework, and just keep on practicing. Now, if you already know some Spanish and want to reach fluency, the same advice applies.

Where to start? During the entire month of September (only), Habla Ya Spanish Schools have a very special offer for local residents: 2x1 on ANY Spanish course over 60 hours. If you live in Boquete or in Bocas del Toro, just drop by and sign up. Habla Ya’s 10 week Part Time Course for Residents which normally costs $500 is reduced to only $250 per student (when you sign up with someone else). If you live in Panama City, Coronado, Azuero or elsewhere, treat yourself to a 3 week Spanish learning vacation (or longer) to Bocas or Boquete, and take Spanish lessons while you're there. You can do between 20 and 30 hours of lessons per week, stay at a hotel (at a discounted price) or live with a local host family for an authentic Spanish immersion. For more information contact Habla Ya at: 730 - 8344, info@hablayapanama.com or visit their website for more info about their September special...

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Ministry of Education Keeps Sanctions Against The Universidad Internacional de Comercio y Educación

Schools & EducationThe Ministry of Education of Panama (MEDUCA) decided to maintain the "temporary suspension" of the International University of Commerce and Education (UICE) because they failed to deliver a required self-evaluation and improvement plan within the established deadline.

Through Resolution No. 368 of 1 August 2012, published in the Official Gazette number 27,114 on 5 September 2012, the temporary suspension remains for 30 days, until the next meeting of the National University Assessment and Accreditation Council of Panama (CONEAUPA) for the processes of self-assessment in order to obtain accreditation.

The document, signed by the Minister of Education, Lucy Molinar and the General Secretary of MEDUCA, Aixa de Quintero, asked that the legal representative of the house of higher learning should be informed that they can only begin operations during the next call for the evaluation process.

The International University of Commerce and Education presented no disclaimers although the CONEAUPA started an investigation.

In the first 30 day suspension, made through Resolution number 200 of 13 April 2012, for "serious misconduct", explains that the International University of Commerce and Education "allowed the 30 day deadline to pass for addressing the faults" to enter the evaluation process for accreditation purposes. (Estrella)

Editor's Comment: This is another area where the Minister of Education Lucy Molinar is cleaning house. They are reviewing all of the universities in Panama, to force them to comply with rules, regulations, and oversight.

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"Universal Scholarship" Will Be Paid On 24 September 2012

Schools & EducationThe general director of the Institute for Training and Development of Human Resources (IFARHU), Sonia de Luzcando, announced that on 24 September 2012 they will start paying the "Universal Scholarship" across the country. A press release from IFARHU says on that date the students from the provinces of Herrera and Los Santos will be paid simultaneously on Monday 24 and Tuesday 25 September. Go With A Guardian - To receive the check students, have to go to their parent or guardian, submit their report cards for 2011, and the report cards for the first two quarters of 2012. On the website www.ifarhu.gob.pa parents and students and see the payment schedule, which will also be published in major print media in the country, or they can communicate with IFARHU at the nearest community office. (Siglo)

Editor's Comment: The "Universal Scholarship" program cuts government checks for school students who get good grades, to help pay for books, supplies, and uniforms. Across the country about 678,000 students receive these payments. They receive $20 per month during the school year, or a total of $200 per year. Assuming those numbers are right, this government program puts $135 million dollars back into the hands of school students every year.

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Molinar: Students Have A Lack of Values

Schools & EducationThe Minister of Education, Lucy Molinar, revealed that soon they would create a National Plan of Values, involving parents, students, civic clubs, and sectors of civil society. Molinar said the problems of human behavior and violence, in which some students have been involved, is part of the problem of family breakdown. She said there is a lack of values among the students, added to the messages they receive from the media and the environment in general. "The lack of values ​​in society is a problem for everyone, not just the education system," she said.

On another issue, Minister Molinar said the students from the Jacoba Urriola Solis school, located in Portobelo, Colon province, who have been affected by a strange phenomenon (fainting, seizures) are being addressed by specialists Counseling Center. She called on parents not to close the doors of the school because they would be doing harm to other students. She said the problems of human behavior are not like "a street that is damaged which can be repaired with cement" and she asked the mothers of students to reach out thoroughly with the investigations, and if some teachers are involved they will be punished. She said according to previous experiences with these kinds of cases, it has nothing to do with demonic possession and are caused by other problems. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: There are basically two stories in the news along this vein. First of all there have been attacks committed by students against their teachers. In one case a kid slashed his teacher's face with a razor, and in another a student was planning to poison her teacher. The second part has to do with teenage girls who are supposedly experiencing some sort of "seizures" (flopping around on the ground) but in reality it's just attention seeking behavior, requiring mental health professionals, not priests to conduct exorcisms.

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Teacher Recovering After Student Slashes Her Face With A Razor

Schools & EducationReinela Moreno, a teacher at the Victoriano Lorenzo de Las Lomas school in David, Chiriqui Province, is recovering after being attacked with a box cutter by a 13 year old student. Moreno, who has filed a complaint with the Public Ministry, will not return to school on Monday, when classes resume, because of her medical condition. Academic activities have been suspended at the school since last Thursday after the attack. Meanwhile, teachers at the Victoriano Lorenzo school are preparing to receive students who will be taking their quarterly tests, and they will also be given counseling. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: How many times do you see "copy cat" activity among students of this age group? After this attack made the news last week, almost immediately another student arrived at school with plans to poison her teacher.

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Seventh Grade Student Intended To Poison Teacher

Schools & EducationMarisin Chanis, the Director General of Education, confirmed that a seventh grade student at the National Institute attempted to poison a teacher because the teacher punished the student over an irregular behavior. Chanis explained that some colleagues reported that the girl had a poison which she introduced into the classroom. The student herself told the teacher what she intended to do. Chanis said the student will be suspended and receive psychological and psychiatric care by the Counseling Center. The MEDUCA official said she was surprised by the irregular behavior of some students, and she appealed to parents to monitor their children and fulfill their role of values ​​education within the home. (Critica)
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7th Grade Student Slashes His Teacher's Face With A Razor

Schools & EducationA 13-year-old seventh grade student at the Victoriano Lorenzo school in the village of Las Lomas, in the district of David, Chiriquí, assaulted his teacher Reynelia Moreno, who teaches Religion, cutting her in the face with a razor.

The situation occurred when the student approached the teacher in the staff room, and asked her if she had asked for his mother to be summoned to the school.

Moreno told him that she had only told his sister that she had cut class yesterday, then she turned to leave the teacher's lounge, said Alicia Miranda, who accompanied the teacher Moreno at that time.

Miranda said once the teacher spoke with the student, she returned to the classroom, because she had to teach a class, and that's when she returned, holding her face which was covered in blood and screaming that the student had cut her face.

It was learned by the teachers at the school that the teacher had a wound almost 10 centimeters long (4 inches) from the chin to the neck, so she was treated in the emergency health center at the school, and then she was transferred to the Regional Hospital Rafael Hernandez, in the city of David. (Critica)

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Differences Over The Commission of Guarantees (Teachers Strike)

Schools & EducationDespite the agreement signed yesterday to ensure they comply, differences surfaced again between the Ministry of Education officials and spokesmen representing public school teachers regarding the role of the Commission of Guarantors, with the participation of the Church, in an interview on the channel 2 TVN morning news broadcast. The Director of Personnel of the Ministry of Education (MEDUCA) Silvia Garcia said on the commission the Catholic Church and the lawyers representing the teachers who have been fired will have a role as observers in order to guarantee the compliance with due process, and the role of the Ministry of Education will be to create the climate so that the process can continue in accordance to the rule of law.

Joaquin Rodriguez, of the Veraguas Educators Association, said they must abide by any decision adopted by the commission. However, after listening to the statements made by Garcia, Rodriguez said an external Commission is necessary as a Conciliation Board because he believes the teachers are defenseless. Rodriguez said it should not be that a single Principal in a school is the one who can investigate, punish, and reconsider the decision on the expulsion of a teacher.

Garcia reiterated that the Commission will oversee the process of the teachers who have been dismissed, including Professor Andres Rodriguez. Some cases have already been elevated to the MEDUCA, while that of Professor Rodriguez has not yet left the Education Center where he worked (Colegio Abel Bravo). Garcia reiterated that teachers on the Staff Selection Committee of Bocas del Toro who had been dismissed will be reinstated in their functions as educators. She said they had been removed, but at the end of time for which they had been designated to the Staff Selection Committee has expired, so they will be moved to the classrooms. These educators from Bocas del Toro had submitted a guarantee protection in the courts and administrative resources in the MEDUCA, but these have not been resolved because the Ministry of Education could do nothing.

Both Garcia and Rodriguez agreed that something must be done in order to recover the time lost in classes due to the strike. Rodriguez said the MEDUCA should use the same formula that has been used when teachers go to workshops.

Euclid Mendez, of the Education Observation organization, suggested that the teachers could catch up on weekends or increase the intensity of the material, with tables summarizing methods, in order to not put additional pressure on the students. Mendez said the teachers want to talk to the Minister Molinar on the issue of the quality of education, because the curriculum transformation fails, because it does not have as its axis an emphasis on teaching the students how to think. According to Mendez, only 32 percent of students pass the reasoning test used to enter the University of Panama. She said one of every two students did not pass the test of reading comprehension, the written communication test, and they have problems with language and reasoning. (TVN)

Editor's Comment: OK, so that answers the question I had about what they are going to be doing about Andres Rodriguez. Right now the problem the teachers had is that one single person - the principal at the school where he worked - was the one who opened the investigation against him, decided to fire him, and also was the one who reconsidered (and probably denied) his appeal. Now they have created this higher level board to review those decisions in the case of Rodriguez and other teachers who have been fired, and the Catholic Church and the lawyers representing the fired teachers acting as observers to ensure due process. So the bottom line basically remains the same. If Rodriguez was, in fact, fired because be broke the law, then he's gone. Strike's over. Have a nice day. In the end of the day the rest of the teachers backed him up to the point of ensuring he got a fair "trial" or review of his case, and that's fair. But the bottom line won't change. I like it...

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Students Suspended For Looking At Porn on MEDUCA Laptops

Schools & EducationFour students from the Felix Esteban Oller school in Narganá were temporarily suspended for looking at pornography on the laptops given to them recently by the Ministry of Education. Nicolas Adames, deputy director of the campus, said the action against the students will be effective after the monthly exams. Adames called on parents to be more concerned with the use of the computers. (Estrella)
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