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Church in Paraguay to Use Its Schools to Address Social Inequality

The Catholic Church in Paraguay have pledged to use Church-run schools to help address social inequality-related national issues and promote a transformation that values the person.

“Catholic schools have a clear evangelizing mission, since these historical institutions are spaces for the integral formation of people. However, they face great challenges such as globalization economy and the vertiginous changes of today’s society,” said Sister Myrian Celeste Benítez at the March 6 – 8 meeting of the Episcopal Commissions of education for the Global Educational Pact, in Bogotá, the headquarters of the Latin Episcopal Council. American (CELAM).

There were 20 representatives from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Venezuela discussing the theme: “Weaving networks for education. The Educational Pact in Latin America and the Caribbean”. It aims to bring the region’s Church-run schools in line with the Global Compact on Education, a pact sponsored by the Dicastery for Culture and Education to encourage change on a global scale, so that education may become a creator of fraternity, peace, and justice.

The current situation of Paraguayan Catholic education requires the implementation of institutional educational networks that allow the sharing of actions and progress around the Global Educational Pact, said Sister Celeste, the Vatican news agency Fides reported. The nun, who is largely responsible for the educational ministry of the Episcopal Conference of Paraguay, pointed out that the Paraguayan education system is faced with problematic situations pertaining to land rights, protection of indigenous peoples, lack of free education, limited access to technology and social inequality, among others.

“Application of the inalienable values of the Constitution”
Last year, Catholic bishops during the plenary Assembly of the episcopal conference spoke of the “critical state” of the national education system. The country’s National Plan for the Transformation of Education (PNTE 2030) – the set of policies for the next ten years — “has generated clashes and created insecurity”, said the bishops, who demanded the application of the inalienable values of the Constitution, such as the transcendental dimension, the family, the life and human dignity. The bishops’ education commission had also called on the country’s Catholic educational institutions to “launch an analysis and provide proposals on education in Paraguay”.

The educational system has tried to adapt to the challenges of today’s world but those in the education sector say that the results have not been satisfactory so far and little success has been had in creating new study tools and methods to help with an effective, interactive, practical and inclusive process.

Paraguay has experienced a series of educational reforms since the fall of the dictatorship, but in the past 30 years, the different initiatives have generated changes in processes, but the results were not what was expected, they said. Currently, Paraguayan education occupies the last positions with regards to quality in the region.

Most private schools in Paraguay are likely to be Catholic and schools that are run by the government are often crowded and lack adequate resources. According to the Statistical Yearbook of the Catholic Church (2020), the Catholic Church in Paraguay manages 213 kindergartens, 264 primary schools and 198 secondary schools.

Source: La Croix