Guajira teachers need to borrow money to keep on working

Teachers in the mostly native Venezuelan region still go to schools to grade exams but can not afford bus fare on their salaries.

Education professionals are frustrated with the salary they receive from the Ministry of Education. Photo by Eira González.

By Eira Gonzalez.

Teachers in the Guajira municipality from Zulia state face difficult situations, such as lack of connectivity, power failures, and shortages of cash, supplies, and tools for the teaching process.

At the beginning of July, teachers in this region must borrow money to pay for the bus fare to get to their schools and correct students’ final tests.

Education professionals in this border municipality sell knick-knacks and food on the street to obtain cash for their bus tickets; others choose to walk to educational institutions to fulfill their responsibilities.

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The teachers told El Pitazo that the measures applied by the Ministry of Education are overwhelming since the vast majority of them do not have a smartphone, a laptop, or a tablet to assist and guide the students in the online modality.

Vladimiro Guerrero, a teacher from Guajira, said that he has had to borrow money and sell food from the basic basket to fulfill his responsibilities.

“It is sad and regrettable to touch on the subject of the salary that we get as teachers. It is not enough for us to survive one day. Today, the fare to my school is 600,000 (around $3) bolivars a day, and the fortnightly salary is 620,000”.

Guerrero called on the government of Nicolas Maduro to take pity on the salaries of teachers, who are the coaches and builders of the future.

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Carlos Fernandez, a teacher at the Ramón Paz Ipuana educational unit, said the salary he receives as a teacher is not enough to buy a kilo of meat. In recent days he has been forced to turn to his friends and borrow money for his tickets.

“It is so difficult for me to go up to my school because the ticket is so expensive and they charge in Colombian pesos, that caused me to double the problems because I do not work. These causes me sadness and disappointment because my salary is not enough for anything,” he said.

At the end of the 2019-2020 school year in this region of Zulia, teachers have chosen to do extra work to fulfill their vocation. At the Los Filuos open-air flea market, more than 40 teachers are selling food to support their homes.

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