OAS and Virtual Educa Take Education to Children in the Colombia-Venezuela Border
The first Popup School
of the OAS and its education program Virtual Educa was built in 24
hours to assist displaced children affected by the situation on the
Colombia-Venezuela border. The school, known as Popup given its
rapid construction and the simplicity of its materials, is located
in Colombia's Norte de Santander department, near the Juan Frio
Agricultural Institute. Equipped with 25 laptops and a virtual
screen, the school will initially serve more than 60 Colombian and
Venezuelan children, and is becoming a center of educational
and training resources for the entire community in the municipality
of Villa del Rosario, in the department of Norte de Santander,
For students, the school
represents the potential to explore a different way of approaching
knowledge, as its connection with other schools in the network
enables them to work on common issues, and strengthen their
self-esteem given that all students have the same opportunities. For
teachers, the school is a place for experimentation, where they can
interact with content and dynamic educational materials in an ICT
environment (information and communications technology).
For the OAS,
the school represents access to the right to education for children.
emphasized by the Secretary General of the Organization, Luis
Almagro, "access to the rights of children is a priority for the
Organization of American States. The opening of this school and the
other classrooms planned are very good examples of what we want to
do – concrete actions on the ground that reflect our slogan ´More
rights for more people."
For her part, Ideli Salvatti, Adviser to the Secretary General of the OAS for Access to Rights and Equality, added that “we are determined to work to guarantee the rights of children and all people. In this case, the right of access to education without interruption.”
Educa Popup school model was created precisely in Colombia, during
XIV International Gathering held in Medellin in 2013. Its
modular and quick-construction concept was designed by the Portuguese company
Knowledge to facilitate the inclusion of remote areas, and
consists of an infrastructure system that is fully equipped with
furniture, energy, technological devices and educational materials
for students and teachers.
The new school in
Colombia showcases the agility and applicability of the model in
different environments. In the short term, the project is expected
to expand and open three additional educational technology centers
in the same region.
Virtual Educa, the OAS brings together governments, businesses,
academia and civil society to support the process of incorporating
ICTs into education systems, as a mechanism to expand the access to
innovative and quality education in the Americas.
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