Almost half of public schools in Argentina do not have an Internet connection

For decades the public education in Argentina it suffers from the lack of infrastructure, equipment and maintenance of its buildings. Added to this series of inconveniences is a worrying fact that affects the learning of millions of students throughout the country on a daily basis.

half of the public schools in Argentina there is no internet connection according to official documents of the Ministry of Education of the Nation to which he agreed TN.

Currently, the country has 51,745 educational establishments state management assets according to the latest update of the official register. Of the total, 24,394 do not have internet connectionthat is, the 47% of the total. They are disconnected schools, without any possibility of using this global tool for teaching students.

According to estimates of the portfolio that leads James Perczyk are 2,413,698 students who attend public schools without internet. The Government responds that this year it began a process of connecting schools, but accepts that there is still a long way to go. In May, the disconnected schools amounted to 27,666.

Half of public schools across the country do not have internet connection

This is a worrying figure if one takes into account that millions of students throughout the country drag two years of complexities when it comes to learning, product of the coronavirus pandemic. Throughout 2020 and a good part of 2021, education was developed virtually and even thousands of young people were unable to maintain the bond with school because they did not have a computer or internet at home.

Almost 2.5 million students do not have an internet connection in their educational establishments.  Credits: T.N.
Almost 2.5 million students do not have an internet connection in their educational establishments. Credits: T.N.

Last May, TN revealed that 200 thousand students never went back to school and that during the first year of the pandemic they were 1,360,000 young people that they had problems to study. In 2021, that figure dropped to 450,000 students with “null or insufficient enrollment.” There are still thousands of students who never returned to the classroom.

The lack of connectivity affects kindergartens, primary schools, secondary, establishments for adults, special education and hospitals, among others. The problem expands throughout the country: from Jujuy to Tierra del Fuego, with particular disconnection points in some provinces such as Formosa, Chaco and Santiago del Estero.

Examples of provinces with high levels of disconnection

In the district commanded by the Buenos Aires governor Axel Kicillo there are 14,039 public educational establishments from which 6,896 (49.12%) They don’t have internet connection. The list that was given to TN It contemplates schools under the national, provincial and municipal orbit, always under state management.

The most serious case is Formosaprovince in which there are 1,441 schools without internet out of a total of 1,623 educational establishments. This represents 88.79% of schools without internet.

The situation is also complex in other provinces such as Chacowith a total of 2,670 educational establishments of which 2,077 (77.79%) do not have connectivity. In Santiago del Estero the scenario is not very different. Of the 2,259 public schools, 1,801 do not have an Internet connection for their students, that is, 79% of the spaces for learning.

Chaco’s clarification regarding the connectivity of its schools

In dialogue with TN, authorities from the Ministry of Education of Chaco assured that the report delivered by the Ministry of Education of the Nation did not contemplate connections made by the company ECOM.

The authorities of Chaco assure that in the province the level of disconnection of schools is 52% and not 77% as the National Ministry of Education informed TN. In other words, they say that Chaco has 48% of its schools connected. They add that 65% of enrollment at all levels attend schools with internet.

The Minister of Education of Chaco Aldo Lineras He spoke with this medium and explained: “Beyond the data that was taken from the Nation, there may be a communication error between us (the Province) and the Nation, and this possible mistake can be explained by the fact that ECOM connections were not taken into account. and only those of Educar were contemplated”.

The official documentation that the Ministry of Education of the Nation delivered to TN

The Ministry of Education gave TN a document with 1,294 pages.  There are the connected schools and those that are "in process".  Credits: T.N.
The Ministry of Education gave TN a document with 1,294 pages. There are connected schools and those that are “in process”. Credits: T.N.

In Tucumanprovince of Osvaldo Jaldo, educational establishments are 1594of which 1123 (70.45%) still do not have this tool. In Santa Fe the situation is not much different. Of the 4,018 schools, about 2,611 (64%) they don’t have connectivity.

In The Rioja there are 795 public educational establishments, of which 454 do not have an internet connection. Its about 57% without connectivity.

The jurisdictions that presented the best indexes are the Buenos aires city Y saint Louis with almost 100% of its schools connected.

Half of the schools in Argentina do not have an internet connection.  Credits: APN.
Half of the schools in Argentina do not have an internet connection. Credits: APN.

The fact that a school does not have internet means that teachers cannot download stimulating educational content for the youngest, audiovisual material for primary and secondary schools or carry out exercises with online educational platforms in real time. For education specialists, it is a key tool to show the little ones what the world is like.

In dialogue with TNfrom the Ministry of Education accepted that 47% of educational establishments did not have – Until July – connectivity and they assure that this figure fell -in these first days of August- to just over 40%. They also say that the goal is to connect 90% of the schools before the end of the year.

The Government also failed to deliver all the 500,000 computers it promised

In March 2021, before the legislative assembly, President Alberto Fernández promised to deliver 500 thousand computers for public school students across the country. It was a way to re-launch the Connect Equality Plan, an icon of Cristina Kirchner’s years in power.

However, during 2021, the Government it only shipped 59,431 netbooksthat is, the 11.89% of what was promised.

The Government relaunched the Connect Equality Plan but did not fulfill the promise to deliver 500,000 computers in 2021. (Photo: Télam).
The Government relaunched the Connect Equality Plan but did not fulfill the promise to deliver 500,000 computers in 2021. (Photo: Télam).

As if that were not enough, in March 2022, the Minister of Education Jaime Perczyk said in an interview with radius 10 that the 500,000 computers had already been distributed and that the boys were going to start the year with the equipment in the schools, when the numbers show the opposite.

  • Year 2021: 59,431 netbooks within the Juana Manso Plan.
  • Year 2022: 331,490 netbooks (as of July 31, 2022).

“We are going to start the year in March with more than 500 thousand computers distributed”, the Minister of Education had said. This did not happen.

The official documents accessed by TN show that the Government did not deliver the 500,000 computers it promised in 2021.  Credits: T.N.
The official documents accessed by TN show that the Government did not deliver the 500,000 computers it promised in 2021. Credits: T.N.

According to official figures, so far 390 thousand computers have been deliveredthat is, more than a year late, there are 110 thousand students who still do not have their teams.

A delayed computer purchase that has not yet been paid for and teachers waiting for their netbooks

The government had also promised to buy a million more computers, a good number of which were going to be used by teachers. The announcement was made Alberto Fernandez last March in La Rioja. However, the award only took place in June and the selected companies have not yet been paid, according to this media. Fewer still began distribution.

Part of this equipment will go to teachers, but already in August, no teacher received their equipment.

The total budget for the purchase of netbooks within the framework of the Connect Equality Plan in 2022 is $29,093,733,257 (estimated value with a dollar price of $118.00). Of that figure, $11,837,955,038 (updated to May) have already been used, so 40% has already been executed and the first goal has not even been met: deliver the 500,000 computers promised by Alberto Fernández.

“A confusion”: Chaco’s explanation of connectivity data

The Minister of Education of Chaco Aldo Lineras pointed out that the data on his province is “confusion from the source of the data, that is, the Ministry of Education of the Nation.”

“According to the report, our province has only 22.21% of connected schools (77.79% of non-connected schools), which is not correct. The confusion, we think, is based on the fact that the connection figures detailed by the National Ministry of Education refer to those produced by Educate which are managed from that national body. However, in Chaco, as in other provinces, a very important number of connections are provided by other companies, ECOM, in our case, and it is likely that there has been an error in the information collected from the Nation or sent from the province. ”, Lineras said in a statement.

The minister explained that “there are 1,570 connected establishments (48% of the total), which, however, implies 292,247 students, that is, 65% of enrollment at all levels.” He also explained that the process of installing connectivity in schools was resumed after the pandemic period, after the reopening of schools, and after the national contribution had been paralyzed for 4 years.

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