Tag Archives: Guatemala

Scan of Ed News: Quality and Access

International-Travel-Agency-262545-262545-1so(links to articles are embedded as hyperlinks)

Recent news reports reveal the ways in which countries all over the world are taking steps to make quality P-12 education more accessible for students.

In Chinathe government is closing privately operated schools and will allow the children of migrant workers to attend public schools. In addition to paying tuition fees for vocational students in southern rural areas, the Chinese government is also looking for ways to increase high school enrollment in areas such as the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. In contrast, the government has announced that, in their effort to increase the quality of tertiary institutions, postgraduate education will no longer be free. As noted in The New York Times, the cost of education is felt sharply by those in rural areas, where families are suffering from “high education costs coincid[ing] with slower growth of the Chinese economy and surging unemployment among recent college graduates.”   Meanwhile, state universities in Indonesia will receive government funding to eliminate initial fees for new students and lower tuition rates overall.

In addition to the issue of access to education, many countries are reporting on efforts to improve the quality of education, resulting in conflicts between government officials, union leadership, and teachers. In Denmark, teachers are pushing back against the government’s reform measures, which include increasing the number of hours teachers spend in the classroom. In France, schools have had to shut their doors due to a teacher strike in protest of President Hollande’s reform agenda, which aims to increase classroom time. Guatemalan teachers and students have also been protesting the country’s education reform goals, which include university-level training for all teachers, a measure many believe will have a negative impact on education in rural areas. South Africa has long provided rural teachers with incentive stipends; however, teachers are in the midst of planning a strike to protest the government’s recent decision to terminate the allowances.


Program to Promote Educational Reading Levels

Prensa Libre (January 11, 2013)

c9e9ad2a43a146355919a081f7560134_int470As Guatemalan schools begin the 2013 academic school year this month, teachers across the country are expected to implement a new reading program, entitled “Leamos Juntos” (the literal translation of which is “We Read Together”), aimed to promote reading and to involve students, teachers, families, and communities in the development of reading. The program has in common characteristics of earlier reading reforms from 2006 and 2011 – which, among their goals, served to promote healthy reading habits within families as well as to maintain Guatemalan oral traditions – and is a response to an “Ibero-American Educational Cooperation” conference) held last October 2012 . Within that conference, Spanish-speaking countries vowed to prepare a reading plan for the furthering of literacy in their schools.

With 90M Quetzales (a little over $11M) invested in the reform, one primary component of the program involves a normalized half-hour of reading per day within classrooms as a way to foment a love of reading among students. The money, borrowed from the International Development Bank, will be used for four purposes: 1) the purchase of 4.5M books, 2) materials to safeguard and deliver books to schools, 3) infrastructure for the storage of books, and 4) the eventual printing of e-books donated by UNESCO.

The Guatemalan Ministry of Education has created a national commission on reading as well as departmental commissions that are in charge of their respective educational centers and schools (both public and private). These commissions are expected to devise the human resources necessary to follow through with the promotion as well as effective methods – including a systemization of “good reading practices” – for teachers to help children with acquiring and developing their reading skills. Those departmental commissions are also in charge of their own resources and materials, presumably divided from the investments mentioned previously.

Additionally the reform calls for a commission of integrated school reading that includes the director of the institution, two teachers, two parent representatives, and two students whose responsibilities include ensuring the appropriate use of materials (ensuring that they’re organized by theme, type, language, etc.). Teachers in all institutions have the major responsibility of carrying out lessons that involve student participation and activities related to the reading. Finally, periodic evaluations of reading departments, institutions, and areas are a part of the reform.

Contributed by Tran Templeton

For more information:

Guatemala: National Reading Program “We Read Together”

90M Quetzales Invested in Reading Program