He took office in the midst of a revolution of cabinet changes derived from the crushing defeat suffered in the PASO and with the hot iron of knowing that his area had been one of the most battered during the pandemic, with a central discussion that led to the former minister of Education, Nicolas Trotta, even to confront President Alberto Fernández on the sensitive issue of the presence of students at all levels. That’s why today Jaime Perczyk He declaims what seems to be his first objective: “We are going to look house to house for all the boys so that they can go back to school. Argentina cannot afford to mortgage its future with children who did not learn what they owed due to the pandemic ”.
It takes an economic shock from the State to be able to reach everyone with connectivity. Argentina is the eighth country in the world by surface area. That is why you have to invest in connectivity to reverse the economic situation
The interview with LA GACETA finds him touring the town of Quilmes, in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, precisely doing what he says to do: ringing bells to speak with children and parents, and ensuring their presence. According to his own data, since March of last year, more than a million boys intermittently disengaged from teaching, “and you have to make them come back yes or yes,” and he also reaffirmed that there will be no automatic promotion. That is, you must pass the subjects to pass the grade or course.
Professor of Physical Education, rector in use of license at the University of Hurlingham, the city of which he was mayor, former secretary of University Policies of the Nation and member of Trotta’s own cabinet, Perczyk assures that there is no time to lose. This was the dialogue:
What are the objectives for its management?
– With the president (Alberto) Fernández and the chief of staff (Juan) Manzur we set three priorities: guarantee full presence at all levels, recover all the boys who left school and prepare the contents and recover learning, learn everything that was not possible during the pandemic. We have to work towards full presence and for that we have to improve schools and prepare them well, in addition to recovering learning and ensuring that students learn. What is a priority must be learned. And for that it is necessary to teach more and better.
How are knowledge going to recover after 18 months in which everything was so chaotic?
– We do not remember as a society having lived such a complex period, both health and economic, and that has consequences that we will not solve overnight. Maybe we can do it in two or three years. But what we now need are more class hours, being in school more, even on Saturdays, adding more shifts, there are kids who are going to be able to go on vacation and others not if they have to study. Schools must be offered priority spaces for students to develop everything that they could not until now. For that we need more hours of study. Let it work on Saturdays, in January and in February if necessary. It is controversial but it is the right thing to do. Each jurisdiction will develop this idea, but we all have to know that to recover what was lost we must teach more and better. It has been tremendous and painful that a million boys and girls dropped out of school. For society, everything is something that we have to solve by looking for the students.
What was the most serious thing that was lost in the pandemic in education?
– It affected us on all levels, on the cognitive level, in building social relationships, in recovering opinion as the starting point of the discussion, working as a team. All this must be recovered, put it at the center of the tasks and that the children can continue learning. We cannot stay with what happened. You have to look ahead but start now. It is not something that we can say ‘well, let’s see what we do next year’. We live something unique and right now we have to get to work to recover what we lost.
How do you see the situation of the universities, which are now going to be able to return to full presence as well?
– At the higher level, it will be necessary to understand, as in the others, that virtuality can be a support, but that what is non-negotiable is presence. We have a very unfair country, where the map of connectivity and that of inequality coincide. That is why urgent investments must be made. Reach all educational areas. It takes an economic shock from the State to be able to reach everyone with connectivity. Argentina is the eighth country in the world by surface area. That is why we must invest in connectivity to reverse the economic situation, so that we do well when we are bad. That is an idea that we must respect. We cannot wait to get out of the economic crisis to advance in education. We have to do it now, and so in a short time we will be better.
In an economic crisis like the one we have, where is that money going to come from?
– The budget for education has increased. Education had been underfunded in the government of (Mauricio) Macri. Now we expect to reach 6% of GDP. The 6% was reached in 2010 and in 2015. Today we are at 5.30 and there are discussions in the educational community to reach 8 percent. This has to be continuous, it cannot go up and down.
What do we do with the boys who stopped studying during this time?
– You have to go find them now. As we speak, I am at that job, house to house, ringing bells. Boys have to be in schools. We have to give them extracurricular activities, greater content in language, mathematics, art, sports. That they are attracted to the school. And for that you have to go house to house. It is an epic, but all politics must be summoned to join in on this. It will benefit us as a Nation, beyond party issues. No one can object to a better education and there is no way to solve this without being present. Responsibility is exercised by the 24 jurisdictions plus the National State. For that we held meetings with the ministers. They must coordinate and agree on presence in the provinces. Education is a right and civil servants must respond to that. What if, the boys must study. There will be no automatic promotion. You have to pass the course.
There is much talk that the pandemic forced paradigm changes, which entails a new way of teaching and learning.
– We already need a discussion about the education we want and what we need. You have to base yourself on boys of 3, 4, 5 years old, at the initial level. That they learn to read and if necessary they have more class hours. And that in secondary school they are prepared precisely for Argentina to come, with more contraction to work, with more knowledge, with more industrial careers, to define the productive profile that we want. And that the University is the one that finally delivers the tools to have the men and women who are going to make this country bigger. Argentina must recover what was lost. It’s a challenge, but we have to get going right now. There is no more time to lose.