Improving the quality of teaching and learning in rural Guatemala
Anabely beat the odds. Unlike the vast majority of indigenous Mayan girls who receive only one year of education, Anabely recently graduated from middle school in the remote mountain village of Chipiacúl. She hopes to pursue more education, a dream now within reach thanks to her perseverance, her family’s sacrifices, and the involvement of CoEd in her community.
For the three years of her middle school education, Anabely participated in CoEd’s Textbook Program. “The books have made my life better,” Anabely says of her experience with the program. “I do higher-quality work with them. I want to make a difference and share what I’ve learned with others.”
Imagine trying to learn without books!
More than 90 percent of schools in rural Guatemala don’t have access to textbooks. Without them, students waste most of their learning time copying the teacher’s notes from the blackboard. Not surprisingly, they quickly lose motivation and enthusiasm for school, and drop out. For every ten young people that begin first grade in rural Guatemala, three will make it to seventh grade, and only one will complete tenth grade. This means that a staggering 90% or more of young, rural Guatemalans never graduate from high school!
CoEd Textbook Programs have a 17-year successful track record of increasing the amount of material covered in classes, improving the learning experience, and reducing dropout rates (by as much as 46%). Studies show that, simply by staying in school, young people in Guatemala can improve their earning potential by as much as 50% over their lifetimes. With higher wages, they can escape the hardship that has plagued their families for generations—breaking the cycle of poverty, once and for all.
How the Program Works
Textbooks in Guatemala are prohibitively expensive for children in poor communities. CoEd provides a low-cost, sustainable solution for giving students access to these vital educational resources. Every program participant “rents” four books from CoEd for a small fee (about $1.50 a month) in the core subjects of math, science, Spanish language, and social studies. CoEd purchases the books in bulk directly from a large Guatemalan publisher, thus securing the lowest possible price and contributing to the local economy.
Teachers also receive training on how to effectively use textbooks in the classroom to improve learning outcomes.
CoEd designs its programs to thrive and survive into the future. True to our name, we work “cooperatively” with parents, teachers, principals, and students to create strategies for educational development in their communities.
All student rental fees collected go into a fund managed by CoEd. After five years, enough money has accrued to replace the books. Once CoEd makes the initial investment, each Textbook Program becomes 100% self-sustaining. CoEd customizes the revolving fund to suit each community’s unique circumstances, with impressive results: 92% of schools that have had a CoEd Textbook Program for more than five years have renewed their books through the revolving fund. (About a third have even replaced their books more than once!)
Since the community has a financial stake in the program, they have a vested interest in its success. Once their programs are up and running, the schools take over the day-to-day management. They experience the pride, confidence, and dignity that come from helping themselves.
More than 85% of the Textbook Programs implemented since CoEd’s founding in 1996 continue to thrive, replacing their books about every five years. The programs have improved student and teacher performance and morale at the schools. For example:
- Students at Textbook Program schools gain deep exposure to 42% more of the curriculum and understand 44% more course content than they did before textbooks.
- Ninety percent of students in the program indicate that the books have a significant positive impact on their ability to learn and retain information.
- Read more results from the Textbook Program.