ASUNCION – Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez and his education minister launched on Thursday a social dialogue aimed at devising strategies for reforming the South American country’s educational system.
The goal of the initiative is to improve the nation’s educational quality in keeping with the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015 by the United Nations and signed by Paraguay.
In a ceremony in the garden of the presidential palace, Abdo Benitez said significant progress had been made in terms of education financing but despite steady spending increases under previous governments “the results show that all that has improved is access.”
He added that there was an urgent need to transform an educational system that “is very far below the Latin American and global average.”
Education Minister Eduardo Petta said for his part that if young people are not trained to administer the nation’s wealth, “foreigners will come and take away our resources” and “subjugate us; that’s why education is important.”
In that regard, the call for dialogue is going out to “all sectors: to the teachers unions, to our teachers,” Petta said, adding that educators are key to the process because of the impact they have on the lives of Paraguayan children.
As part an eventual overhaul of the nation’s educational system, it is imperative that teachers earn better salaries, the minister added.