UCAB Schools of Education and Letters joined forces to strengthen verbal skills of Venezuelan adolescents | via: El Ucabista
Fabiana Contreras | Venezuela | April 24, 2023
Unofficial translation made by HumVenezuela…
Students in the 1st and 3rd years of high school anywhere in the country will be able to reinforce their knowledge of grammar, writing and reading comprehension, thanks to free classes given by university professors through open digital platforms.
The Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, through two of its schools (Education and Letters), made available, from April 18 and completely free of charge, online educational sessions in the area of verbal skills, aimed at first and third year high school students from any corner of the country.
Zoom Meetings, YouTube and Google Classroom will be the platforms for these young people to interact with the knowledge offered by the facilitators of both units.
According to Professor Carlos Calatrava, director of the School of Education, “the teachers in this area are students of the School of Letters in fulfillment of their Community Service, with the support and advice of a team of dedicated teachers from the School of Letters”.
The sessions are part of the Educab TV project that the School of Education has been carrying out since October 2020, when the agency took action in response to the difficult educational situation faced by the country due to the conditions resulting from the pandemic. Throughout almost three years of the project, reinforcement classes in chemistry, English and mathematics have been taught for the various levels of Middle and General Education.
The reactivation of Educab TV took place with the Verbal Ability module, since it corresponds to one of the fundamental subjects of the high school curriculum and one of the areas in which adolescents present more knowledge deficiencies; this according to the results of the most recent Online Knowledge Evaluation System (SECEL), a UCAB study according to which six out of 10 students do not have the minimum knowledge on the subject.
“This is a plan for this third term that aims to strengthen reading and writing skills, because although we do it every day, we do not necessarily do it efficiently, we can do it much better,” said Professor Lizette Martinez Willet, director of the School of Letters, during the first formative meeting.
SYNCHRONOUS SESSIONS AND ASYNCHRONOUS SUPPORT
According to its promoters, this online training platform works to provide support to both students and their teachers, who can connect according to their interests. The intention is to generate an attractive and interactive space that favors the teaching-learning process, remotely, with quality didactic and pedagogical content.
Thus, those interested will be able to connect to Zoom synchronous meetings on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10:00 am or 4:00 pm, which will also be stored and permanently available on the YouTube channel of the School of Education; additionally, spaces will be created in Google Classroom to offer asynchronous activities that complement the classes.
During the weekly sessions, an attempt will be made to simulate the typical classroom interaction of young people, as well as to demonstrate the variety of alternatives to take advantage of technological tools in education. “It’s not just about one person speaking, we hope that you [the students] can also participate and intervene,” Martínez Willet reinforced.
WHY: A COUNTRY THAT REQUIRES EDUCATIONAL QUALITY
Since 2019, the School of Education has been promoting the initiative of the Online Knowledge Evaluation System (SECEL), which aims to diagnose the actual learning level of students in areas such as verbal ability, mathematics, biology, physics, chemistry and English.
Through the application of these diagnostic tests to 16 thousand students from more than 50 institutions in Caracas and 17 states of the country, in October 2022 it was concluded that “the students of the Venezuelan educational system do not have the necessary knowledge in mathematics and verbal ability“.
In mathematics, 67.70% of the students (that is, almost seven out of 10) failed with a score of 8.95 points out of 20. On the other hand, in verbal ability, 60.98% of the students failed. The average score was 9.34 out of 20.
“In Venezuela, almost 11 million young people are between 6 and 18 years old, and by law they are obliged to go to school. Of these, only 69% attend, that is, our educational system is excluding almost 3 million who have never set foot in a school. 7 million do go, but 81% of them are in the worst averages, that is, almost 5 million Venezuelans are not even reaching grade 09 in mathematics and verbal skills, which are the basis for the rest”, said the director of the School of Education, Carlos Calatrava, when presenting these results which, according to him, put at stake the viability of the country in the next 100 years.
The professor added that “the three years we have been working with EducabTV demonstrate – at least – two realities: the absence of teachers in several institutions of the educational system in the areas of knowledge we work with, and the demand of students and parents in receiving quality pedagogical attention, as a means of guaranteeing a future at least different from the current reality that many homes are living. The latter confirms that, despite the Complex Humanitarian Emergency and the severity of the educational crisis, we still as a society understand that education and school are levers for personal and collective development.“
Those interested in accessing Educab TV classes, available in Verbal Ability as well as Mathematics and English, can access the following link: https://www.youtube.com/@EducacionUCAB.
For more information about the Verbal Ability module and the entire program, you can follow the schools on their social networks on Instagram and Twitter: @EducacionUCAB and @LetrasUCAB.
♦Text: Fabiana Contreras Álvarez/Photos: Manuel Sardá y Carlos Miliani