Friday afternoon I picked up Brianna’s 9 page report card at her jardin (kindergarden). She’s 3 now. During the meeting at her jardin there were a number of congratulations from the school to the parents of those children who have recently been accepted to start next year at some of the highly regarded schools in the city. We are coming up on the end of the school year here and the idea is that most of the highly regarded schools offer 2 years of kindergarden (5 and 6 years old) which will help your child get into those schools at the start of their primary education.
There are many small, private jardins for kids ages 2 and up, like the one where Brianna currently is. It’s considered important for those jardins to place children into the highly regarded schools at the 4-5 year levels. The director of Brianna’s jardins called out a number of proud parents including one “whose baby has been accepted IN FIRST PLACE to La Salle!!!!”
Big round of applause.
I personally don’t like the La Salle school. To me it’s very pituco.
Then the director continued about how many more kids are still in the process of “taking exams” for other schools.
I started to write this post on Saturday but couldn’t finish because the power went out several times in our neighborhood. This is considered normal, the water and electricity go out about once a month (and we live in a well established residential area) but 4 YEAR OLDS TAKE ENTRANCE EXAMS???
I first realized that Peru is totally nuts about education back when I was teaching ESL. I understand that everybody wants to give their kids a better life than they had. For Peruvians who remember the bad old days of terrorism, the collapse of the rural economies and hyper-inflation it’s easy to understand that they see a good university education as the ticket to a better life for their children. A good pre-school is just one of the many steps to that ultimate goal of a good university education.
The problem in my opinion is this: Peru has blind faith in education.
I think this blind faith in education has created a generation with quite a few “professional students”, young Peruvians who should have every opportunity in life but fail to take advantage of them out of fear or reluctance to make that next step, get out on their own. The strong Peruvian mothers shelter their kids so much that they often lack incentive, self confidence, at least in a professional sense.
It’s not what you know, it’s what you do with that knowledge that matters.
Studying is a great way to get out of having to look for a job. 25-years old, living at home and never worked a day in your life? Just sign up for another “institute” and mom will be proud. Want a new laptop or internet at home? Just tell mom you need it for “homework”.
Also, savvy business people make a ton of money in Peru with education. Sadly, in my opinion many of the for profit private institutes aren’t very good. It’s just business.
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My father didn’t go to college. He worked on the farm until he was 16, then he went to work in the coal mines. My grandfather didn’t go to college, he got sent to war, to go kill young men he didn’t even know – because people with degrees from the finest universities in the world told him to.