A practice that expanded worldwide during the Covid-19 lockdowns to avoid physical proximity, online schooling returns to Ecuador in a move to minimize the dangers of living in the crime-ridden coastal province of Guayas, particularly its capital, Guayaquil, where shootings and murders have become commonplace, it was announced Sunday.
The Ministry of Education said on X (formerly Twitter) that it had decided to apply the Educational Continuity Plan, at a distance, in certain educational institutions in Monte Sinaí, northwest of Guayaquil, until Sept. 27, and in the neighboring city of Durán until Oct. 2. The Educational Continuity Plan will be applied at a distance in six institutions in Monte Sinaí and another six in Durán, the ministry said, while asking the police to carry out permanent patrols when on-site classes resume locally.
The support of the security forces for the resumption of face-to-face classes must be a priority in order to protect the lives and the right to education of the students, the ministry added.
Confrontations between rival gangs have led to numerous prison massacres in Ecuador since 2020, with more than 400 inmates killed. The violence has also spilled over into the streets, with homicides and assaults that have taken Ecuador from 5.8 to 25.32 murders per 100,000 people in five years. Experts fear that the rate could reach 40 by the end of 2023.
Last Friday, Ecuador's Education Ministry allocated US$ 14 million to hire private security to add to the National Police's work in educational institutions in unsafe areas.
Minister María Brown was asked last week by groups of parents to return to virtuality due to the increase in violent deaths and the danger to which educational centers are exposed.
According to Ecuador's National Police, at least 1,326 schoolchildren aged between 12 and 17 years old dropped out of school to join criminal gangs in recent months. They were involved in illegal possession of weapons, contract killings, micro-trafficking, robbery, and other organized crime activities.