By Gabriel Gasteazoro Law Student at Universidad Centroamericana Jose Simeon Cañas.
We continue on the topic of the inadequate infrastructure in both public and private schools; of the terrible security; of teachers improperly trained; of students who are unaware of their high intellectual potential; and finally, of the low quality of education that marks El Salvador – so, how can we remediate the situation? Let’s stop criticizing for a moment and offer a solution – indeed, a way to guarantee an adequate and efficient education system.
There are just too many problems in our national education centers for any one person to solve – we must all work together. Our taxes are directed to public bureaucrats who must administer them in an efficient manner in light of a global crisis – economic as well as political and social. In times such as these, we need austerity policies – but not those which cut spending in all areas, but rather, in those sectors that are not truly essential.
In 2007, it is estimated that 6.7% of the gross domestic budget was spend on education, of which 50.9% came from the private sector, as 46.5% came from government resources and 2.6% from International donations (PNUD, 2010). According to International entities, as well as our own Ministry of Education, the national education budget should be increased by at least 5% to significantly improve our educational system.
So how do we achieve greater investment in education?
Right now we have a precarious and deficient education. It is apparent to many of us that some money should reallocated to education in order to achieve a technical workforce which would serve to improve our economy.
As Salvadorans, we must insist that education be considered a higher priority. Some of us can afford to study but as Salvadorans and as human beings, we should do a better job of looking after those who cannot afford the opportunity to access the system. Many persons need to work before they can even think of studying. Others do not even have access to a school close to home, and therefore cannot study. The country is slowly but surely becoming more and more socially exclusive and, at the same time, and in many ways, poorer.
By increasing taxes on certain luxuries and on higher incomes, but not on basic goods and lower incomes (which affect the poor), and dedicating the increased revenue to education, we can create more optimal conditions in our public schools. In countries such as Switzerland, for example, in which education is totally free to all, there are adequate living standards for all, and opportunities for all to achieve a better life. Education is essential, especially in today’s world, where competition increasingly requires technically capable citizens.