March 18, 2021 | Panama City, Panama | Kayc James and Inter-American Division News
Seventh-day Adventist schools in Panama stand to benefit from a recent government resolve that will provide financial assistance to hundreds of parents of students with outstanding accounts affected by the escalating economic crisis brought on by the pandemic.
Resolve No. 4074, voted on November 30, 2020, states that US$ 2 million will go toward assistance to parents who have been unable to pay for their children’s schooling since the school year ended in December, according to Panama’s Minister of Education Virgilio Sousa.
“We are thankful that all 36 Adventist schools were considered for this economic aid,” said Professor Abel Cubilla, education director for the church in Panama. Many parents have been struggling to make ends meet and have not been able to continue providing an Adventist education for their children, said Cubilla.The amounts will vary from school to school depending on the needs assessed in each, but parents will see the assistance reflected in their accounts soon.
Of the 740 private schools across Panama, only 268 met the requirements and documentation required by the Ministry of Education to receive the benefit, explained Cubilla. For example, schools had to be recognized by the Ministry of Education in specific aspects, show evidence of the accounts to be assisted and clear accounting measures with social security payments of teachers, among others.
“That all of our educational institutions were considered shows us that the Adventist educational system in Panama has been fulfilling all the government guidelines, even when doing virtual learning,” he explained.
According to government statistics during 2020 dozens of private schools were in jeopardy of closing their doors amid the struggling economic situation.So far, Adventist schools will continue on virtual learning this year, said Cubilla.
Pastor Jose De Gracia, president of the church in Panama, shared the recent news with parents during the church’s annual day of prayer in Adventist schools in the Inter-American Division, last week. “We praise God and the administrative staff and faculty for staying at the forefront to help provide solutions to the hundreds of parents from the church and the community who believe in the Adventist education’s wholistic approach which includes a focus on the integrative nature of spiritual, mental, physical and social development.”
The Seventh-day Adventist educational system in Panama has 382 school administrators and faculty overseeing 5,300 students.
To learn more about the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Panama, its initiatives and activities, visit uapanama.org