March 23, 2021

Panama Grants Financial Assistance to Students in Adventist Schools

Kayc James, Inter-American Division, and Adventist Review

Seventh-day Adventist schools in Panama stand to benefit from a recent government decision 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.

Government Resolution 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 Virgilio Sousa, Panama’s national director of legal advice in the Ministry of Education.

“We are thankful that all 36 Adventist schools were considered for this economic aid,” said Abel Cubilla, education director for the Adventist 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, Cubilla said.

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, government sources said.

Out of 740 private schools across Panama, only 268 met the requirements and documentation required by the Ministry of Education to receive the benefit, Cubilla explained. For example, schools had to be recognized by the Ministry of Education in specific areas, show documentation about the accounts in need of financial assistance, and provide evidence that they have clear accounting measures, including the social security payments of teachers.

“That all of our educational institutions were considered shows us that the Adventist educational system in Panama has been following all the government guidelines, even during virtual learning,” Cubilla explained.

Adventist schools will continue offering virtual learning this year, he said.

Jose De Gracia, president of the Adventist Church in Panama, shared the recent news with parents during the church’s latest annual Day of Prayer across Adventist schools in the Inter-American Division.

“We praise God and the administration staff and faculty for helping provide solutions to the hundreds of parents from the church and the community who believe in Adventist education’s wholistic approach,” he said.

The Seventh-day Adventist educational system in Panama has 382 school administrators and faculty overseeing 5,300 students.

The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division news site.