Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Guatemalan Education: The Building Blocks to Success
Written by Emma Pion-Berlin, Content Creator
Part One: First steps
(Students at the Panajachel Preschool get ready for a class activity (Photography by Emma Pion-Berlin).
Education institutions in Guatemala have come a long way in the last decade but still face many difficulties. Public education is not free, so it becomes a challenge, not a privilege for people to attend school. Furthermore, within indigenous communities, school dropout rates are higher.
Preschool is a critical turning point in a child’s education as kids are learning how to speak, read and write. In the rural areas we work in, some kids that go into preschool only speak their native language and minimal Spanish, which makes it harder to advance into primary school.
According to our data reports from this year, in the rural indigenous communities, 58 percent of our preschool students do not speak Spanish at home.
Chiara Petruzza, our Student Sponsor Coordinator said, “One of the priorities of our Preschool Nutrition Centers is to make sure that all children achieve basic Spanish literacy before accessing primary education.”
In all of our preschools, we implement bilingual education, meaning all students learn Spanish as well as practice their native tongue. However, if students are not being exposed to Spanish at home, it becomes more of a challenge.
Chiara Petruzza, our Student Sponsorship Coordinator said, “Bilingual education has the potential to positively impact our students entering and completing primary education.”
Bilingual education is important because once students graduate from preschool to primary school because more subjects are taught in Spanish. According to the United Nations Human Development Reports the primary school dropout rate in Guatemala is about 28 percent. In contrast to United States educational standards, completing primary school is an absolute must. In the United States, attending school is a requirement until a certain age, meaning that failing to complete primary school is not an option.
Early stages of education are extremely critical and at Mayan Families, we support our students in a holistic way by providing them with the resources they need to advance in education.
Click here to support our students in their education journey.