Millenium Development Goals: Reality Check

In Guatemala, children in rural areas, especially indigenous children, are in dire need of educational support. We know this not because we bury our heads in statistical reports but because we’ve spent over 18 years working at the village level with children, teachers and librarians. Day in and day out, we see firsthand just how hard it is for children to learn to read and succeed in school.

But when reports come out, we look at the statistics, too. Although they may be slightly removed from reality, the stories they tell – or fail to tell – can be revealing.

On Monday, the United Nations released its progress report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Although the world has apparently made progress in some areas (poverty reduction, gender parity in education, clean water), a close look at related UN documents reveals we’re a long way off from achieving Universal Primary Education, especially in Guatemala.

Some food for thought:

This 2012 MDG Progress Chart shows that if prevailing trends persist in Latin America, progress is insufficient to reach Universal Primary Education by 2015.

In the UN’s recently published and incredibly dense World Atlas of Gender Equality in Education, map 4.1.2 (page 62) shows that in all of North and South America, Guatemala has the lowest enrollment rates in lower secondary education (roughly 7th and 8th grade). That means more children drop out of school after 6th grade in Guatemala than anywhere else in the region.

And check out the findings in the UN’s 2011 Regional Overview for Latin America and the Caribbean. Although pre-primary education is critical to a child’s ability to perform well in primary school and beyond, “levels of participation are particularly low in the Dominican Repulic, Guatemala and Paraguay, with pre-primary GERs [General Enrollment Ratios] at 35% or below.” That means over 65% of children in Guatemala are excluded from pre-primary education (more about pre-primary education for indigenous children here.). Sadly, those numbers are increasing.

When it comes to education, children in Guatemala have it harder than in nearly anywhere in North and South America. Through our Reading for Life program, we are addressing this problem, and we need your help. Please join us! There are plenty of ways you can help us bring educational opportunity to children in Guatemala.

Categories: News
07/4/2012 8:19 PM | 0 Comments

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