Today marks the third day of the peaceful and cultural strike that students, graduates and parents have been carrying out at the Santa Librada National College. With a list of seven requests, the young people will seek to reach agreements next week.
Newspaper of Huila, Neiva
By: Alejandro Polanco
Through peaceful and cultural protest, students, graduates and parents of one of the most emblematic schools not only in the department, but also in the country seek answers from municipal entities and above all their respect for the requirements that for years only They have been expanded and subsequently archived.
El Diario Del Huila, made a tour with a group of students through the facilities of the campus that is close to celebrating its 178th anniversary, in this tour it was possible to verify what this medium and others may have been able to document, but beyond From what is obvious at first glance, it is striking how these young people have normalized the conditions in which the place is located. Along with this, sadness and frustration are perceived at not seeing solutions that allow them to return to the institution what they have given to the department.
And it seems that time has stopped inside the Santa Librada National School, it is enough to fix your gaze on the flags deteriorated by the inclement weather, the rusty masts and the pool that since 2020 was disabled covered by the undergrowth to perceive the obvious forgetfulness to which he is being subjected.
Laura Sofía Cardoso Medina, student comptroller of the institution, was emphatic in pointing out that, within the priority needs of the Educational Institution, is the intervention in the infrastructure, adding that “please at least fix our classrooms, especially the block C where there are many classrooms, the truth is there are grades that take classes outdoors, the teachers’ room is collapsing, they are just waiting for something more serious to happen”.
Noting that the conditions of the classrooms are not only dangerous due to their infrastructure, but also that they have plagues of animals that have established their residence in these completely abandoned classrooms; bats, bees, mice and other rodents that with their presence could cause severe health problems in the almost 800 students.
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In this cultural protest you can see the young people stationed on the road who with desks, logs and bricks closed the road that leads to the school, carrying out activities such as chess games and parks, while waiting to be heard, parents of family like Mrs. Jenny Rincón, member of the parents’ association.
“The parents are totally in agreement with the protest and offer their support, some do not participate due to labor issues, but they support what is being demanded.” He also referred to the position of the directors of the Santa Librada National School “the teachers and the rector are far away, because they are not calling the strike. But there comes a point where the rector disapproves of the situation and demands to resume classes, without taking into account how dangerous it can be and denying the right to protest.
Duvan Gutiérrez, a graduate, expressed his dissatisfaction with the problem that has always persisted since he was a student. “Disappointing, because after having studied for almost seven years, it is always the same problem: the cracks, the pool, the blocks, it is that I spent seven years where it was always the same, they told us “we are going to do it” “we already have the money” and they didn’t leave with anything, it makes us nostalgic to see how they only put aside for us the motto ‘your family my family, your school our school’ has lost its identity”.
During the tour carried out inside the educational establishment, Danna Cambero, members of the Student Council, pointed out that since last May 16, when they protested, they presented the Municipal Administration with a document with 7 specific requests.
Among which they request the intervention of block C, which is currently disabled due to the fall of low ceilings and other damage to its infrastructure. To this is added the intervention of the school pool, which is out of use, due to its deterioration and because in 2020 two students suffered cuts on their feet due to the expiration of the same plating.
In the same way, the intervention of the school restaurant is necessary, since it is not an act to house the more than 400 young people who come to eat their food and who have forced the school to implement two schedules so that the children can access the food. There are no proper, healthy and minimum conditions for those in charge of preparing food to work and keep this space clean.
Similarly, the deterioration in the teachers’ office has begun to put their lives at risk, since part of the ceiling has already detached. Given the lack of educational classrooms, many students and the same staff have been displaced to other spaces, for example, administrative staff today work in the computer room, which prevents students from receiving these classes in a practical way.
The students also ask for the intervention of the laboratories that are already beginning to be affected by the deterioration and likewise the sports spaces and green areas.
What does the Municipal Education Secretary say?
Cecilia Lozada de Fierro, Neiva’s Secretary of Education, told Diario del Huila that “the request made by the educational community in search of improving the infrastructure is notorious, the secretary is clear about her responsibility, therefore, improvements have been made In some blocks, there was a lack of money, but the management is already underway and we are firm in these arrangements”.
The official was also emphatic in pointing out that, “some adjustments have already been made in blocks one and two, but we were left missing a small part due to lack of budget and that is why the students are making these requirements. We are waiting for the addition of this budget to be able to continue with these works that have required an investment of 350 million pesos and that are already guaranteed”.
He added that “there is already a green light on the issue, due to all the transfer budget processes that the treasury and planning have to do, but that is firm for the adaptation to be completed.”
Regarding the requirement of the adjustments of Block C, he said that “a budget of 1,200 million pesos is needed, that we still cannot guarantee these resources, because we do not fear them, but there is hope of a donation from an entity international that we hope this crystallizes”.
They will seek agreements
Yesterday, in the midst of the demonstrations, the Secretary of Education, Cecilia Lozada de Fierro, met with the student representatives, parents and the rector, to try to reach agreements, however, they have not yet been reached. Therefore, the strike will continue until next Monday, June 5, when a working group between students and the Municipal Administration is scheduled to reach agreements.
In short, it is expected that the primordial principle that education is a fundamental right, and everyone’s responsibility, will be validated to guarantee an adequate environment for learning.