Lockdown no obstacle

Teacher training in Potosí, Bolivia in the shadow of the corona 

By Jette Luna, CICED, vice-chair

As in most countries around the world, all educational institutions in Bolivia are also deserted. All schools are closed, teachers have been sent home, and the latest news from the Bolivian government is that schools are unlikely to reopen until sometime in August.

But the CICED-supported AAE (Acción Andina de Educación) education project in Potosí in the Bolivian highlands has not shut down. They are trying their best to continue with the planned activities and this week, through the use of Zoom, they have completed another module in the project’s in-service training for teachers.

All teachers in Bolivia have been equipped with a computer by the Ministry of Education, because already in 2011, Evo Morales, the former president of Bolivia, launched the project: “One computer per teacher”. The project was part of the new education reform in Bolivia and aimed to give all teachers access to information online – and also access to new communication technologies that could help teachers develop better teaching.

Evo Morales justified the project by saying that the use of the computer should not only be a luxury for teachers in private schools, but also a working tool for all teachers in public schools. Access to new knowledge and information should be more democratic and not just reserved for the elite in Bolivia.

The project’s teachers have been trained by AAE in the use of zoom. So the planned power point presentation on second language development was displayed on the screen without any problems.

The teachers actively participated in the discussions raised by the presentation and, in addition to the professional benefits, the teachers also expressed great satisfaction that the project in this way gives teachers the opportunity to continue to “meet” with each other and thus be kept in the loop.

And the head of AAE says that the funds that would have been spent on coffee and physical course materials have now been converted into megabits. This gives the project a greater opportunity to keep Zoom running without interruptions.

Bolivia is the only country in Latin America where the state has provided computers free of charge to all teachers, and today all newly qualified teachers are given a computer with their diploma.

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