ARRIBA COLON! Gente Ayudando Gente




While working with educators at the local Colon Province schools, GAGPAN determined that the public schools were decades behind the rest of the industrialized world. Students had no books. Teachers had no access to the proper instructional materials and in many cases they were teaching from memory. Schools were crowded and the existing educational system was incapable of providing classroom teaching at an acceptable level. The curriculum was years behind the requirements for a graduate to be trained for employment in the present global economy.

GAGPAN also discovered that the entire Panama public school system was suffering from the same problems as the Colon Province schools. The public school system throughout the country lacked the ability to meet the educational challenges for the 21st century, that required producing a graduate qualified to enter the global workforce.

Panamanias without work

Fifty percent of the work force, comprising some 460,000 Panamanians, were without work and not qualified to find gainful employment due to the inadequate and outdated educational system.

Panamanians not qualified for employment

Students were graduating from the Panama public school system every year and were unable to find work because of the poor education they had received after 12 years of study.

The entire country was approaching a financial and civil disaster, as the government could not maintain the social programs required as a result of such high unemployment.

By 2004, the major work in Colon was gradually completed and the Board of Directors of Gente Ayudando Gente gave approval to establish an office in the capital, Panama City, and develop the Arriba! Panama program to undertake the challenge to change the educational system in the entire country.

GAGPAN began a search for a teaching system that could meet the challenge to provide a quality education to the students of the Panama Public Schools. After consulting with local teachers, administrators, students and educational experts in Panama and other countries, it was determined that a digital teaching method would allow rapid transformation to a modern educational system.

A typical digital teaching system would consist of thousands of computers for use in classrooms and technology laboratories, allowing the students and teachers access to the knowledge of the world.

A Modern 21st Century Digital Learning System

Basic computer Instruction

Special programs for grades K through 6

Learning the multi-media programs
with audio and video

Computers in a typical technology center
are also connected to the Internet

Using computers to learn English

Two-way video conferencing

Incorporated in the new digital system, and to further enhance the educational process, would be access to virtual libraries worldwide over the Internet, 2-way video-conferencing systems and a digital English language curriculum for grades K though 12.

The GAGPAN goal is to convert the Panama public school system, from the present inadequate institution, to a modern 21st century digital learning program, capable of providing a world-class education to the students.

GAGPAN, at the same time, would develop a separate educational program to train the unemployed adults to speak English, in order that they may be qualified to obtain Internet based employment.

A trained English-speaking Panamanian adult, using the Internet and VOIP telephone technology, could obtain Internet based employment working for a major firm in another country, without leaving Panama. This source of jobs could alleviate the severe unemployment problem

The  GAGPAN educational effort has grown to include volunteers in all of the provinces of the Republic with thousands of parent volunteers working to improve the school system.