Last year alone 50.000 students dropped out of school. The districts with the highest dropout rates are Puente Alto, La Pintana and Maipú. For this reason, the Súmate Foundation works in these territories and in other regions of the country telling them: Re-join and go back to school. Here we explain the meaning of the initiative and invite everyone to help in a priority task for the future and present of the country.
Which are the territories in Chile where most of the children and young people excluded from the school system are located? Do you know that there are more than 224.000 in the whole country?
Where are those 50.000 who enrolled in 2021 to attend classes in 2022 and never showed up in class or did it late, badly and never? How do we give them back their right to education if we do not know where they are?
All these questions are the ones that the teams of schools and re-entry classrooms, and socio-educational programs that are working to bring these excluded children and youth back to school in 2023 are trying to answer. Right now, explains the director of Fundación Súmate, "we are flattening the streets of the districts where we know those 50.000 boys and girls who dropped out of school last year are concentrated".
The work is not easy. In addition to the scarcity of data, the pandemic has installed in large sectors of the population the idea that it is possible to live without school and the economic crisis makes it more imperative to generate income than to acquire knowledge in a classroom.
"I feel challenged when a young person looks to crime for survival, when he or she believes that he or she has no other alternatives and does not find meaning in life. To the excluded boys and girls, the school failed them: it treated them badly, ignored them, punished them, discarded them, made them feel stupid, badly behaved", notes the director of Súmate.
THE TRIANGLE OF EXCLUSION
Fundación Súmate has been working for almost 30 years for educational reintegration and for this purpose it has 4 reinsertion schools -three in Santiago and one in Concepción-, reinsertion classrooms and socio-educational programs in the Metropolitan, Valparaíso, Coquimbo, Biobío and Antofagasta regions. In addition, it has vast experience in training others to help vulnerable children and young people re-enter the school system.
This March, when the majority of students were returning to school, Súmate was working to fill their enrollments, looking for children and young people who are disillusioned with school so that they can regain their right to education.
The campaign is called Reiníciate and is concentrated in the districts where there is the highest dropout rate: Puente Alto, La Pintana and Maipú constitute a true "triangle of school exclusion". But the campaign is also present in the other regions where Súmate is present.
Reiníciate appeals to the community radios of these territories, to the neighborhood councils, to the community organizations, to the districts, to achieve this crucial task for the development of children and young people in situations of poverty and vulnerability, who today, by not studying, are breeding grounds for drug trafficking and delinquency.
The campaign speaks directly to the excluded, but also appeals to the help of mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, neighbors, because women are usually the most sensitive when they see that a boy or girl, pressed by a myriad of reasons, has stopped going to school. And for this, the collaboration of community media is crucial.
Let's all be recruiters for Súmate and together we can help those 50.000 children and young people who were forced to drop out of school last year to resume their education. To them we say Reiníciate.