Entry by Anne Sofie Olsen and Javier Prado.
The negative effects that COVID-19 will affect all sectors of the economy, including the education sector. On June 9, 2020, Lenín Moreno, President of the Republic of Ecuador, announced the draft of the Organic Law of Humanitarian Support which states that parents who have lost their jobs and have their children in private educational establishments will receive a support of up to 25% of the monthly tuition fees. If they decide not to continue attending a private school, a spot will be guaranteed in a public one.
This blog underlines some data regarding this issue:
– The migration from private to public schools has already started, with an increase in public enrollment in Ecuador. In June 2020, the school year began on the coast of Ecuador, and enrollment in public institutions has already increased by 120,000 students (6.5%).
– There are still 1,221,905 spots available at all levels of the public education system in order to guarantee access for more students.
– However, the transition would be more noticeable in larger cities where most private schools are located (88%) and where there are at the same time fewer spots available in public schools. For example, Zone 8 in Ecuador (Guayaquil, Durán and Samborondón) has a quarter of the students from the coastal zone, and there are only be 20,482 spots available. In addition, 1,040 private schools have at least one grade with excess students, according to the current classroom size standard), which establishes 30 students per class in preschool education and 40 in basic and secondary education.
– There are not an increased number of teachers to guarantee the quality of education for more students. This, combined with a possible return to classes in a blended modality, would imply a learning model that is going to require a more individualized pedagogical effort. In March 2019, 168,174 teachers were registered in the teaching profession, while in April 2020, the figure decreased to 166,658. Additionally, as part of the economic measures announced by President Moreno on May 19th 2020, teachers must reduce one hour of their workday, which represents an 8.33% salary decrease, according to the Ministry of Labor.
Ensuring access to education for those students who move from private to public institutions will become a challenge for the Ministry of Education. In the Ecuador’s mountain-side school year, scheduled to restart classes between September and October 2020, the number of students expected to join the public education system is projected to increase significantly. The increase in students, combined with the need for more personalized pedagogical efforts is scheduled to happen at the same time as a decrease in the teaching staff, which could trigger other problems and challenges that the Ministry of Education must anticipate regarding the quality of education that it provides to its school-aged population.
How prepared are other countries in the region to receive a large influx of students from the private sector to public schools? Tell us in the comments section or on Twitter mentioning us with @BIDEducacion #EnfoqueEducacion.
 Approved text available here: http://ppless.asambleanacional.gob.ec/alfresco/d/d/workspace/SpacesStore/02d07830-4c66-4655-914a-1312f601b072/Proyecto%20de%20Ley%20Orga%01nica%20de%20Apoyo%20Humanitario%20para%20Combatir%20la%20Crisis%20Sanitaria%20Derivada%20del%20Covid-19-Recibido.pdf