An interesting article recently came to my attention that had been published as part of the World Bank Group 2007 annual meetings – “Raising Student Learning in Latin America: The Challenge for the 21st Century.” The report is formulated with data from across all the Latin American countries but the report is surely indicative of the prevalent problems of Guatemala. Pamela Cox, VP for Latin America & Caribbean of the World Bank says, “In one of the most unequal regions of the world, it is important to say that education can reduce perpetual income and social equalities.” This is the belief of the board of directors and volunteers in Education And More! Education is the key but quality education is very important.
The report also states that enrollment rates have doubled since 1970 and that 97% of all children in the Latin America/Caribbean countries enter elementary school. We can assume from this statistic that more children have access to education and are able attend school; however, access to education is again hampered by the inequalities— especially for the indigenous. Children may start school, which might account for the 97% figure above but without any support structure or help are usually unable to continue after 2-3 years. Indigenous Mayan children are impacted by many factors: quality of education, poverty, language barriers, and lack of early childhood preparation.
According to some reports about Guatemala only about 41% of children are actually in school and literacy for the general population is thought to be only 58%. When ethnic inequalities exist, as in Guatemala, it is probable that the quality of education shows a marked difference between the schools within the country. Providing resources, training teachers and equipping the schools will raise the quality of education for all! Education is key– but it must be a type of quality education that will benefit all children.
We have a lot of work to do!