The villages in the Highlands of Guatemala have suffered a lot this year because of the Covid pandemic. The government initially ordered a complete shutdown of the country(roads, markets, schools, etc.) throwing day labourers, market sellers, craftsmen out of work. The poor of Chaquijya were seriously affected.
Our students’ school year started in February 2020 but by mid-March schools were closed. The majority of the students do not have iphones, tablets, personal computers or access to the internet, so continuing their education on line was impossible. However, the Chaquijya teachers continued working. Sometimes they communicated with their students individually by WhatsApp. Other times they visited the students’ homes, delivered assignments, collected and returned completed work. We continued to support the school system and the teachers continued to be employed. The students are now on their yearly break but will return to studying in mid-February, 2021. For some students this at-home learning was very difficult. We will know when school reopens how many students survived, how many passed their exams, and how many are willing or able to continue with this system. The government is hoping to do more in-class education this year but it is still uncertain how much will be allowed.
It was also difficult for our university students. All studying had to be done online. One lucky student who had a computer at home was able to do well. Other students went to internet cafes to do their work and experienced lots of problems. The university has decided to continue to open only to online students in 2021. Two students dropped out. At the moment we only have three students continuing with their university studies.