Monday 20 September 2021

Controversy Over Private Technical Schools

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INA archive photo
INA archive photo

(QCOSTARICA) A bill currently in the Legislative Assembly allowing private high schools to offer degrees on par with public technical high schools has the teacher’s unions threatening protests as promoting desertion.

Currently the National Training Institute (Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje  – INA) offers degrees that allow students to study a profession and work with companies participating in the program while they study.

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Professors say that the bill will promote high school dropouts.

The German Embassy provided La Republica with information regarding these types of careers, which were pioneered in Germany. The characteristics are:

  • They mix traditional classroom learning with practice in laboratories, workshops, or field experience.
  • Companies participate in the development of curriculum according to skill sets they seek.
  • Students who are 15 years old or older may participate.
  • Companies that participate will offer scholarships for urgent skills or positions.

This offers companies workers who have skills they need, at the same time students get practical experience in the workplace.

This type of education is particularly apt for careers in mechanics, electricians, information technology, graphic design, customer service, and languages.

While everything sounds good on the surface, it is no surprise that the teacher’s unions are against the project.  The first objection is that the participation of companies will bend the programs to their purposes, particularly that they will take advantage of students — paying them little or nothing for work performed as a part of their studies — and at the end of the day they will just be cheap labor, which will promote loss of good paying jobs and desertion of students from proper high schools.

Teachers also believe that private enterprise should not dictate national education policy or methods, while at the same time it will put liberal arts teachers out of work.

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According to Ana Doris Gonzalez, “It is better to fortify the INA, these policies will develop badly paid workers and poor salaries. If need be, we are prepared to take to the streets to protest this type of project, which will only impoverish the working class.”

Article by iNews.co.cr, with editing by the Q!

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