Tuesday, June 28, 2016

An Eye Opening Meeting in Lambayeque

Our knowledge of the pronoei educational system increased exponentially this morning at a meeting of the Lambayeque Province pronoei coordinators held at the Unidad de Gestion Educativa Lambayeque (UGEL). The English translation is Education Management Unit of Lambayeque.  I will use UGEL when referring to this office.

The pronoei program is only one part of UGEL responsibility. Fernando(seated center) is the director of the pronoei program. He has 15 coordinators reporting to him. The group meets weekly. The purpose of the meeting is for Fernando to update the coordinators on any changes or new directives, and for the coordinators to report on the status of each pronoei in their district.

To make this a little clearer let’s look at this map of the entire Lambayeque Region.  The Region is divided into three provinces: Lambayeque, FerreƱafe and Chiclayo. Each province is divided into districts. Lambayeque Province for example has 12 districts as outlined in white. There are 15 coordinators for the 12 districts because some of the districts are too large for one coordinator to supervise. One of the things we learned today is that there are 205 pronoeis in the Lambayeque Province alone. There may be as many or more in the other two provinces. Promesa Peru has barely scratched the surface.

A university degree in education is required to be a coordinator. The coordinator’s job is to constantly visit her pronoeis to insure that the school is operating properly. Are all the registered students actually attending class? Is the teacher showing up on time? Can the students perform at the expected level? Are there unsafe conditions? Are there signs of child abuse or health issues? The individual coordinator reports are compiled and forwarded to Lima.

When a vacancy for a teacher at a pronoei exists it is the responsibility of the coordinator to interview and select a teacher from a list of 4 candidates supplied by the village’s parent’s association. A teacher and the teacher’s pay are provided by UGEL…nothing more. To qualify for a teacher the village must have a safe classroom. Recently a delegation from a village in the district of Olmos came to UGEL requesting a teacher. They replied yes when asked if they had a suitable classroom. Upon investigation it was discovered that the parents had cut 4 trees at an 8 foot height that roughly formed a square; wrapped material around the trees to form walls, and used thatch for a roof. No teacher for them.

We were unable to determine the cost of a prefabricated classroom, but did learn the mayor of Morrope in the Morrope District will pay half the cost if the village can provide the other half and a lot to build on.
The district of Salas is located high in the Andes mountains. It is classified as the poorest district in the province. We were asked if Promesa Peru could donate classroom furnishings to pronoeis in that district. We responded that the cost to transport tables, chairs, storage shelves, etc would be more than the value of the donated items. One of the eye-openers for us happened when Fernando replied that UGEL has two trucks that can be used to transport school items anywhere in the province, including Salas. If true we'll finally be able to get to some of the poorer mountain villages. We’ll find out soon, because Fernando and the Salas coordinator invited us to visit one or more of the schools with them.

As I understand it we will use one of the trucks to travel to a small mountain village, and from there walk to the remote communities. Maribel and I both heard Fernando say we would have to walk for 7 hours and would sleep overnight. We sincerely hope the walking part is not true, and I’m not too crazy about sleeping overnight.

We'll be attending another meeting next Monday to learn more and to talk further about a visit to Salas.

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