[Hultner Estrada/Bethany Beachum]
The statistics for “digital illiteracy” in Nicaragua still remain very high. According to the report “Economy of Knowledge in Central America,” our country ranks 131st out of 148 countries in regards to education and access to Information and Communication Technologies. Honduras is in the 99th position on
the list and Costa Rica the 58th.
Experts from the Science Academy of Nicaragua say that this country is a straggler in the competition of a global economy sustained by knowledge because so many people still do not have access to the internet. Hardly 5% of the schools in the nation own a computer.
The factor of access is key. A computer in Nicaragua can cost up to 40% more than in the United States or Panama. Internet service – that is somewhat functional – costs 10% of what it takes for a family to eat for a month.
Despite all of this, many Christian schools are making an extraordinary effort to reduce these statistics of digital illiteracy, helping the next generation to develop the ability to use technological tools. Even so they have
to overcome many difficulties.
“The computer labs in our schools end up becoming “museums,” because we use donated computers that are turning obsolete,” explains Rafael Castro, facilitator of a network of Christian computer teachers that have formed precisely with the purpose of supporting schools in the mission to produce digitally literate youth for the benefit of the country. This network goes by the name REDPROCOM.
“We are dedicated to providing technical assistance, academic planning, maintenance, and software and hardware repair, but most importantly, we provide training in the use of “Libre” software which is completely free and is very functional for Christian schools,” shares Rafael Castro, a licensed English and computer teacher.
REDPROCOM, a collaboration with ACECEN (Association for Evangelical Christian Educational Centers in Nicaragua), has succeeded in providing this type of key support to more than 30 Christian schools. “We are a small team – for now – but we are very united,” adds Castro, who sums up the dream of REDPROCOM in the following words:
-“We dream that our computer labs are going to be the best of the future, we are going to work so that our program works and then, when it has been established and is strong, we are going to share it with the government so that teachers at the national level can also benefit from it.”