100 DAYS OF ACTION: Bolivian children in action for the right to education in times of pandemic
“As students we are trying to "survive" we have to cook, to change the baby, we have to match classes with responsibilities at home” – Bolivian Child answer on the virtual survey.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, during 2020 and 2021, classes in Bolivia are being held virtually, <ith some exceptions such as the southern area of Cochabamba, where local authorities are encouraging blended classes. In this same area, Save the Children Bolivia has an educational program called “Learning Together in Community”, through which children have joined the 100 days of action campaign.
We wanted to listen to the voice of children and adolescents when it comes to the right to education in times of a pandemic, to put the issue on the public agenda and for the authorities to commit to take actions in favor of education. For this reason, we conducted a virtual survey of 516 children and adolescents, 634 mothers, fathers and caregivers, 818 teachers and 63 community leaders.
Among the most outstanding results we find that:
- 92% of children and adolescents would like to go back to school.
- 86% of the children access virtual classes from the cell phone and 62% of the children must share the cell phone with siblings.
- 41% of boys and girls do not have access to the internet. Families that do have access to the internet have not received information on its safe use.
The results of this virtual survey were presented on March 31 in the virtual discussion “Childhood in action for the Right to Education in times of pandemic”, where participated children who advocated for safe and free Internet access and for the return to classes with the corresponding biosecurity measures. The words of welcome were given to Violeta Costas, Coordinator of the Cochabambina Campaign for the Right to Education, she emphasized the joy of being able to know the opinions of the children, their feelings and perceptions of how they are living education in this time of pandemic. Lorenzo Marfisi, Save the Children Manager in Cochabamba, then presented the discussion objectives and pointed out the importance of listening to the voice of children and motivated them to raise their concerns, joys and dreams to continue studying and access school in these times that we have to live.
On June 1, a second dialogue was held, in which regional and municipal public servants, UNICEF, local NGOs, community leaders, and children and adolescents participated. Fidel Álvarez, National MERA Coordinator of Save the Children, presented the main results of the Global Survey: “Children's rights, health, education and protection during the COVID-19 pandemic”. As a result of this session, the participating organizations expressed their interest in forming an Inter-institutional Regional Table dedicated to promoting the right to education in times of pandemic and the Cochabambina Campaign for the Right to Education included the activities and recommendations proposed by Save the Children during the session in their Annual Operational Plan.