Education specialists’ doubts about the Literacy Plan | Few details and lack of resources

Education specialists’ doubts about the Literacy Plan | Few details and lack of resources
Education specialists’ doubts about the Literacy Plan | Few details and lack of resources

With an event in the city of San JuanPresident Javier Miley launched this Thursday the National Literacy Plan. The program, whose budget will be in the hands of the Minister of Human Capital, Sandra Pettovellohas already been made official by decree and establishes a series of directives and guidelines to coordinate with the literacy plans of the provinces, although without further details on the specific policies to be carried out beyond a reinforcement on standardized tests. Education specialists also warn that the plan is being launched in the context of the strong adjustment to educationwith cuts to the provinces and without national collective bargaining or National Teacher Incentive Fund (Fonid).

The bust of Domingo Faustino Sarmiento He witnessed the speech read and with more than one stumbling block –even when reading the word “literacy”– that Milei gave in front of a row of primary school students. Before them, and without worrying about whether or not he was carrying out an act of indoctrination, the president blamed the “ideas” of “the left” for the “the economic decline which necessarily drags with it the educational decline“. He closed with his already classic order at “forces of heaven” and three times he shouted “Long live freedom, dammit!”.

In the front row, in front of the Sarmiento Birthplace Museum, his sister listened to him Karina Milei; your host, the governor of San Juan Marcelo Orrego; the spokesman Manuel Adorni; the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Martin Menemand Minister Pettovello, who spoke during the day her first speech as a public servant in the framework of a public event. He did not mention the scandal of the undistributed food, the rulings against him or the internal shock that his Ministry suffered after that. He preferred to talk about the “true Argentine drama” which, he said, is “the cultural poverty“.

Pettovello assured that his ministry intends to “transform” this “drama” and that “the Comprehensive literacy is one of the central keys of this transformative process.” Milei went further: He compared his plan to Sarmiento’s literacy campaignwhich he claimed “built 1,200 schools throughout the country,” something striking coming from the president who halted public works. “This Literacy Plan that we are presenting today is not just a government program, but a historical duty of our country,” he said, adding that “Argentina can to once again be the beacon of light in literacy in the world“.

But beyond those big words, the cold letter of the decree that made the creation of the plan official is much more modestPublished this Thursday in the Official Gazette, the decree establishes a series of general axes such as the promotion of “the early literacy of schooling”, “the transversality of literacy” and the “initial and continuing teacher training“. The same decree states that with the plan “it is will accompany and assist the 24 jurisdictions of the country in the design and development of its literacy policies.” On May 28, at the last assembly of the Federal Council of Educationthe provinces had already signed a “Federal Commitment to Literacy” under the principle of “freedom of method“so that each jurisdiction can address the processes.

As for the “Actions” to be carried out, in addition to creating a Literacy Unit, the decree speaks of “promoting” the “design and implementation of strategies and the development of specific literacy activities”, the “proposals for Strengthen the accompaniment to the trajectories”, the “resources for the technical teams” and the “assessment and information gathering devices that allow monitor the state of literacy.” And not much more than that.

The point of the assessment It is perhaps the most concrete that appears in the decree, which mentions the monitoring of the “devices” of the Learn type. In fact, it was the only formal announcement that the president made during his speech in San Juan, indicating that the Aprender evaluations, which are currently carried out in sixth grade, They will start to take place from third grade onwardsHe also said, without further details, that “We are going to evaluate teachers from all over the country” and “give him resources to the provinces for training.”

For Paula Fainsoddirector of the Department of Educational Sciences of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters (FFyL) of the UBA, the question of “resources” is precisely the most worrying of the context in which the announcement is made. “We value the possibility of having a policy dedicated to literacy but We are concerned that this is happening in a context of brutal adjustmentof defunding the provinces, of interruption of educational programs to support careers and of attacks on teacher work and training,” warns the director of the department, who this week held a “conversation” with specialists to debate the problem.

“This surprises us because it means that funds will be transferred to the provinces to develop the plans, but Then they say there is no money. And a literacy unit is founded when
Other sections are dismantled. This happens at the same time as discontinues the delivery of bookswhen you can’t teach reading without books, and also Teacher training lines are discontinued“, he adds, for his part, Myrtle Castedoprofessor emeritus of Educational Sciences at the National University of La Plata.

It is also not clear, beyond Milei’s words, What budget will the announced plan have?The decree says that it will be financed with items established annually by the national budget laws, while it empowers the cabinet chief to make the budgetary adjustments that requires implementation. However, although the text establishes that the implementing authority will be the Ministry of Education of Carlos Torrendellclarifies that the budget It will not be directly in his hands but through the Ministry of which he is a part, headed by Pettovello.

In the decree, the results of standardized tests PISA and Learningwhich the Government will reinforce, appear as the main, if not the only, argument that justifies the creation of the plan, with figures that were also mentioned by Milei in her speech. Regarding Aprender 2023, the decree states that the 34 percent of sixth graders “did not meet the satisfactory level of reading comprehension performance”“, while the PISA 2022 showed that “55 percent of Argentine students are at ‘level 1 and below’, not reaching the minimum level performance established by said evaluations.”

In this sense, Castedo points out that there “the evaluation focus is on children’s learning. not as a process, but as products“. Delia Lerner, researcher in Reading and Writing Didactics, and consulting professor at FFyL, says that “it is essential consider diversity existing in all school groups” and that “We can no longer assume that everyone will learn the same thing at the same time.“. “The central dispute lies in the conception that exists about the subject of learning and in How the purposes of education are definedin relation to the type of citizen we aspire to form and the type of society we would like to move towards,” he says.

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