Saturday, February 18, 2012

Naturalised Peruvians on the Rise

More and more people are getting Peruvian citizenship. I remember when I got mine a couple years ago, people questioned me about it. My motivates weren't the best, but some of the people had been in Peru for much longer than I had and swore that they'd never get citizenship, but things changed.

When I was in the naturalisation office I had to deal with people who told me I HAD to change my name, yet a male friend of mine didn't. Actually, no man I know has had to change their name, it seems like only women do. In addition, everyone there was there because they were Peruvians born abroad and were trying to get citizenship. This was back in late 2008. My citizenship was confirmed in early 2009.

Once you become Peruvian, you'll have to assimilate to the Peruvian culture, so if you don't know enough about it, I highly recommend studying up on it.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Lack of Libraries in Peru Leads to Low Literacy

I didn't miss food so much as I missed libraries when I lived in Peru. I guess I was spoiled to grow up near one of the best libraries in the state. Peruvian libraries just can't hold a candle to US ones. In an early post I wrote about the low literacy rates in Peru and how the government was fighting against illiteracy, but in my opinion, is making some big mistakes.

First off, I used to live across the street from the National Library. One day I decided to go visit and I didn't even get to see one book. Getting into the building is hard enough due to the lack of signs and security guards asking you what you're doing (Um, trying to get books?). So I went into a massive hall and went to the desk and asked to go in. Nope, I was refused entry. (Remind me again WHY I pay taxes if I can't even use the library). They said that I needed two reference letters and a letter from my university saying I was studying. There were fees, but since I was technically a student, I was exempt. I couldn't believe it! Sometimes Peruvian culture really ticks me off.

To make things worse, I later found out that you couldn't even TAKE the books out of the library. Kind of defeats the point of a LENDING library, doesn't it? Needless to say, I left, extremely pissed off, yet completely understanding why so many Peruvians are illiterate.

So I decided to go to Britanico and ICPNA and buy a membership to their libraries. I never actually used the Britanico one, but I did use the ICPNA one: I wasn't impressed.

You could borrow 2 (TWO: whoop-dee-doo) books and they had to be returned in prestine condition. I was slapped with a 30 soles fine and banned for two months when one of the pages bent on a 40 year old book. Seriously? I'd hate to think of the poor kids who check out kids' books. To make things worse, I had joined so I could research for my thesis and none of the books I needed could be checked out. Of course there was no copy machine either; you had to request copies: max of 10 and it took 2 days to get them. Again: seriously?! Oh, and you had to check your bags, they were so afraid you'd steal something.

And don't get me started on the toilets there. No soap and no TP was the norm. I went to complain once, it was a Saturday morning. I was told that the kids from the children's classes must have used up all the soap and TP for the day. They weren't allowed to use more than the quota for the day. Once again: seriously?! That's gross. Peru's not exactly a clean country, I can't believe they don't care about all the germs that would get on their precious 40 year old books.

Britanico's library is supposed to be nicer. I know it's bigger since I had a tour. Though I lived farther away. I guess there's always a next time!


Thursday, February 9, 2012

For Better or For Worse: Peruvian Education

My husband has recently told me he wants our daughter to study in Peru for 3 to 5 years. I nearly fell off my chair when he said that. Before he said if we had kids, he wanted them to go to Peru for 6 months to experience the culture. 6 months in one thing, 5 years is another. I have issues with Peruvian culture and schooling is one of them.

Image source
Now, I'm not saying that I want our daughter to study in the US either.

However, education in Peru is a bit of a nightmare. Private schools are ok-ish, though high grades are handed out like candy. I was told to change Bs to As, since my students were in therapy and a B would "undo everything the therapist had done".  When I refused to change the grades, the homeroom teacher changed them for me. Nice.

Public education in is horrid, especially after the results came out a couple years ago saying the average teacher in the public schools knew just as much as a fifth grader did. The way they care for schools is atrocious. Graffiti, overgrow school yards with weeds, rotting buildings, broken windows, and unhinged gates are just a couple of examples that I saw at the school on Benavides: in Miraflores to boot!

Alan gave 25 schools money to fix things and there were banners proclaiming all this. Though if you took into account the amount he gave and the number of schools, it came out to about $3000 per school. Not much, even in Peru.

Hopefully things will change, though it's going to take a while. One thing I know for sure, is that students who study at home are a heck of a lot smarter than those who go to school. No matter where that school is located.


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