Guatemala – Education
Over the next several weeks and months, I will intersperse facts and figures about Guatemala through the blog. As I share this information, it’s my hope to further understand this country that has captured my heart. Today, I’ll share about the education in Guatemala.
According to Wikipedia:
The government runs a number of public elementary and secondary-level schools. These schools are free, though the cost of uniforms, books, supplies, and transportation makes them less accessible to the poorer segments of society and significant numbers of poor children do not attend school. Many middle and upper-class children go to private schools. The country also has one public university (USAC or Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala), and nine private ones. USAC was one of the first universities in Guatemala. It was officially declared a university on January 31, 1676 by royal command of King Charles II of Spain. Only 74.5% of the population aged 15 and over are literate, the lowest literacy rate in Central America. Although it has the lowest literacy rate, Guatemala is expected to change this within the next 20 years. Organizations such as Child Aid, which trains teachers in villages throughout the Central Highlands region, are working to improve educational outcomes for children. Lack of training for rural teachers is one of the key contributors to the country’s low literacy rates.
While we were in Guatemala this past summer, we had the opportunity to volunteer for a few days at one of the local schools in Xenacoj. Children go to school throughout the year with different breaks than we experience here in the United States. The classrooms we saw had desks and whiteboards. They were constructed with concrete floors, cinder block walls, and corrugated metal roofs. The playgrounds consisted of a dirt surface and soccer posts. We also saw basketball hoops in one of the playgrounds at the school. Soccer is obviously the sport of choice for many of the kids. And they could run circles around us as we tried to catch our breath at the higher elevations.
It’s my understanding that kids often come to school without breakfast, and they often don’t bring anything to eat for lunch. While we’re in Guatemala this coming summer, we’ll have the opportunity to participate in a feeding program for 200 school aged children. This program was recently launched by GO! Ministries and the response was unbelievable. Here’s a video that shows some pictures of the first day of the feeding program.
As stated in previous posts, The Stretched Community is joining together to help with this feeding program. We’ll continue to go after this challenge until we reach the goal or until July of this summer before we leave for this trip back to Guatemala. To read more, click here.
Where did you go to school? How do you think your life would be different if you went to school in Guatemala? What was your favorite subject in school?