By: Juan P. Torres
The economic status of families affects the
access to higher education of students in Puerto Rico. Edrick Alvarado, a theoretical physics mayor at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez, said he had to struggle to get a suitable education due to his economic problems.
In a press conference on Oct. 24, 2013 he said that thanks to the help he received from his mother and professionals he was able to start reaching his dream and begin his professional life.
Edrick received orientation since middle school from one of his teacher, so he would know how he had to prepare himself. Also, he became part of the “Centro para el Acceso Universitario ”, a program in the UPRM that helps students from public housing proyectsto be able to enter college.
Lissette Rolón, one of the two professors who are in charge of the CUA , said that in Puerto Rico out of three students from public schools, one goes to college. She said that in this statistics the economic recession is shown. In this case, people like Edrick who studied in a public school.
Professor Rolón added that to lower these numbers the education system should start encouraging students to get a higher education since the primary school. She added that the students should be also more prepared academically before they go to college.
Eddrick agree that the problem is that a lot of teachers do not teach to their
fullest. That only a few see the potential in students of becoming a professional and fewer of them encourage the students to reach their dreams.
In some cases teachers act like they do not care discriminating the students because of their socioeconomic status. This is the case of Edrick who was discriminated by some people including teachers because he came from a public residential.
Bernadette Delgado, also a professor in charge of the CUA, said in another press conference the same day that some students may be victims of bullying , and therefore that type of discrimination is reflected in the students search for higher education. In this case
bullying might be from other students or from the teacher in an indirect way.
Edrick said that he was grateful that he found the people from the CUA and the teachers who helped him because although he said it was very difficult for him to go to college; he was able to receive the help in time and begin his professional life.
Professor Lissette Rolón, said that not all the students receive that help and she considered that the system of education should take part in the orientation and helping the students giving them the essential tools to reach for a higher education.
This story shows that the role of the parents in their children’s education is crucial. Professor Rolón added to this saying that not only is it crucial, but the education of the parents as well. Rolón said that the education the student gets is directly proportional to the education of the parent.
This is not entirely the case of Edrick since his mother only graduated high school. Still he was able to reach for a higher education. But Edrick in particular chose to seek for it and that contributed to his good results. But not every student has aspirations
of a higher education.
Professor Rolón said that the system of education should analyze and prepare more the students before college. This way, students like Edrick can have the same opportunities and not see college like is too high for them.