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What does it mean to be international?

A few years ago we published an article with the same theme: What does it mean to be international? A question that has gained validity, given the worldwide challenges found within the pandemic’s management. The response from each country has been very diverse, among them there has been a big difference when it comes time to discuss the education sector. Above all, whether the students should attend in person or not.

At International School SEK Guatemala, a member of the International Institution SEK founded 130 years ago in Spain, we continue giving classes with a joint response, in all of our schools, since the beginning of the pandemic.

Being part of an international institution offers countless advantages. For example, we have an answer for all of the international challenges that we have lived through throughout history: civil wars, world wars, earthquakes or pandemics. These answers always have a common axis: Offer solutions for the academic and personal growth of our students with a scientific focus on international character.

There are occasions when society normalizes behaviors that call attention from an international perspective, the same way it surprises us when we see something from far away or with the passing of time. It called our attention when girls couldn’t go to school in Afghanistan, women couldn’t drive in Saudi Arabia, or that African Americans couldn´t get on a bus in the United States. We all bring our hands to our heads thinking about these behaviors but they were all normal within their society at the time. It is alarming that in Guatemala you hear conversations between families saying “My children go to school in person two days a week” “Mine, 3 days” “Mine, three hours” or even less if we are talking about public schools. Or what´s worse, the stoplight allows the children in school but the school doesn´t open.

What implications does this have on the family environment? Are we prioritizing the mental and social health of the children and young people of the country?

Do these measures allow a modern family to organize their daily lives if they don´t know whether their child will go to school in person? Establishing debates in the education system, reflecting and sharing information enriches the educational level of a country. The idea is to share questions that make every member of the educational system grow. Have we normalized not going to school? Are we conscious that this isn´t happening in many other countries?

In SEK Guatemala we have it very clear and we adapt to the hybrid model that is put into effect by the country. Those families that prefer to continue to study at home, do so. However, those that choose to send their children to school have recuperated their 5 day school week which meets the international parameters.

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