Children’s birthday in Ecuador
If you were born in Ecuador, you would probably celebrate your birthday pretty big. At least in a wealthier family. The festival is organized around a theme, for example Minnie Mouse. The piñata then goes with the motto. This is a paper mache figure that is filled with candy and hung up. Blindfolded, the children try to hit it with sticks until it breaks and it rains sweet things… There is also a birthday cake and it is customary to push the birthday child into the cake with his head.
There is also singing: Happy Birthday is also available in Spanish, which means: Feliz Cumpleaños (pronounced: Felís Kumpleánjos).
Try singing it:
te deseamos a ti
And what name would it be that you would have? As a boy, your name might be Alejandro, or Erick, José Luis, Hugo, Matías or Diego. The j is called the way as the ch in “roof”. Girls are often called Dámaris, Sofía, Camila, Ana Lucía, Paula or María Fernanda. Would you like a name of it? The most common surnames are Sánchez, Torres, Rodríguez, López, Cedeño, Jímenez, and García.
School in Ecuador
Children in Ecuador are required to attend school for nine years. However, this is by no means always observed – many children leave school before then. At least 97 percent of the children go to school. That means: 3 percent of the children do not go to school. Sometimes the parents are so poor that they cannot even buy exercise books or the school is too far away. Compared to other countries in Latin America, however, this value is very low. At least 74 percent also go to secondary school.
Enrollment takes place at the age of 5. The elementary school consists of one year of preparation followed by three years. After primary school, it goes to secondary school, the Colegio. It comprises two cycles of three years each (5th – 7th grade and 8th – 10th grade). After the 10th grade you can graduate. Those who go to school for another three years can take their Abitur (bachillerato) and then study.
Grades are given from 1 to 10 in Ecuador. 10 is the top grade, 1 is the worst. In order to pass a schoolwork, you need at least a 7th grade. Teaching is in Spanish. In the Andes, however, Kichwa, the ancient Indian language, is also taught. Otherwise, English is usually the first foreign language. All children wear school uniforms.
The school year is divided into two half-years, which are called quimesters (five months each, plus the two-month vacation). At the end of every semester there is a certificate.
School starts between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. In most schools it starts with the morning roll call, when everyone in the school yard sing or march. The national anthem is sung on Mondays. Classes in most schools end at 2 p.m.
By the way, there are two school systems, that of the coast and that of the mountains (Sierra). They differ in some things. The school year in the mountains always begins in late September or early October and lasts until mid-July of the following year. Then it’s vacation, like with us in July / August. On the coast, however, the school year begins in April / May. The first quimester lasts until September, then there are two weeks of vacation. The second quimester begins in October and ends in February. March and April are free.
What the school looks like and how it is equipped depends very much on where it is! Because in the mountains there are often only small schools. The students have a long way to go to get there. Several classes are then housed in one classroom. After three lessons there is a break of half an hour, followed by another three hours of lessons. At lunchtime there is usually lunch in primary schools, after which everyone goes home.
Why do some children work in Ecuador?
In Ecuador, a country located in South America according to holidaysort, 25 percent of the people live in poverty, 4 percent even in extreme poverty. Of course, this also creates major problems for the children of these poor families. There is not enough to eat or there is no money for clothes or for exercise books and pens. The rural Indians and the people who move to the cities and have no work are particularly hard hit by poverty. Slums then emerge on the outskirts. They are called Invasiones in Ecuador.
Child labor is also a problem. 3 percent of children between the ages of 5 and 14 work. About 40 percent of them do not go to school. The others work before and after school. Many of them help their parents, they work in the fields or tend the cattle, collect firewood or do household chores. There are children who toil shoeshine or they drag stones to construction sites.
At least there are efforts on the part of the state to ban child labor. There used to be a lot of children who looked for things that could be reused in the dumps. You can hardly see that anymore. The aim is to abolish child labor entirely by 2020.
There are also street children. They ran away from home because they were beaten up there and now sleep under bridges or in doorways. They too work in order to survive, or they beg or steal.