Education, Crisis and Radical Changes

The health and economic crisis has forced private schools and universities in Central American countries to cut back on staff, invest in platforms for virtual classes, offer payment facilities and increase their presence in the digital environment.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Because of the spread of covid-19, in most countries in the region, face-to-face classes at all educational levels have been suspended since mid-March 2020.

See "Potential market for educational services"

The health emergency caused an economic crisis throughout Central America, a situation that has affected the financial health of the education sector and is now reflected in private institutions.

In this context of crisis in Costa Rica, private universities have had to provide payment facilities to their students. Nelson Rojas of the University of Medical Sciences' (Ucimed) communications department told Nacion.com that "... At the financial level we had to give very significant discounts, not apply interest and keep the costs without annual increases, to mitigate the negative impact that students and their families have suffered."

You may be interested in the "Study of College Career Preferences in Central America"

The article adds that Ucimed "... decided to keep all its payroll because medical science careers require specialists to teach the classes. The strategy to complement the online lessons was accompanied by a video library of clinical cases, webinars, workshops in social networks and access to a digital library."

An article in Elperiodico.com.gt points out that in Guatemala in this scenario of changes in the educational systems "... one of the main difficulties is the resistance of parents to paying tuition, due to the non-attendance of their children at the educational center, or the demand for a discount for the same reason."

Lorraine Reichenbach, who works at the Swiss American School, explained that "... In our case, the delinquent portfolio increased by 20 to 25 percent,' but our way of solving it is to try to reach an agreement with parents to make deferred payments in installments until the rest of the year."

Regarding the interest in virtual education, CentralAmericaData reports that so far this year in the Central American markets the interest in distance education services reported a clear upturn, with Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama, the countries that recorded the largest increases in interactions associated with the subject.

See the article from Nacion.com "Private universities face the pandemic with virtual classes, more scholarships and adjustments to their payrolls" and from Elperiodico.com.gt "Private schools face crisis and reinvent themselves" (both in Spanish).

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More on this topic

Virtual Education: NO to Differential Costs

February 2021

Since a bill is being discussed in the Assembly of Panama that intends to force all private educational centers to offer discounts to students who receive virtual education, the business sector is opposed to this measure, as it is an attack against free enterprise.

The Assembly informed last January 21 that a bill was presented which aims to regulate the percentage of discounts in private schools and universities, if the teaching modality is virtual, blended and face-to-face.

Technology and New Business Needs

November 2020

Coordinating work teams that work remotely, having updated information systems and incorporating the use of cloud applications to generate reports in an agile way, are some of the needs of companies in the new business scenario.

The return to on-site work is a reality that seems to be far away for some companies, which, faced with the imposition of restrictions on mobility, had to readjust their operations and migrate to digital formats.

The Impact of the Crisis on the Education Business

October 2020

Due to the economic crisis generated by the covid-19 outbreak, it is estimated that between 10% and 12% of students in private institutions in Costa Rica have stopped demanding the services, and tuition fees have gone down.

When the first cases were detected in the country in March, the authorities began to decree restrictions on mobility and productive activities, a situation that generated a severe economic crisis.

Educational Services: New Reality Challenges

August 2020

Shorter university degrees that focus on technical areas and the new requirements of the productive sector are some of the changes that will be part of the new reality of the education business.

In this context of radical changes caused by the covid-19 crisis, new labor trends will require the development of competencies, such as entrepreneurship, agility, adaptability and service mentality, digital skills, food, telecommuting and home-based businesses, health and hygiene, e-commerce, new distribution and logistics models, information technology and robotics.

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