Saturday, October 27, 2007

Schools in Latin America,Including Chacala

The Miami Herald had an interesting article this week. The topic of Andres Oppenheimer's column on Latin America is the poor showing of students of all social classes attending Latin American schools.

This is the link to the article.

One of his comments was that it is very possible to make it all the way through University in Mexico without ever being required to pass an admissions test. He also states that Mexico, and all but two other Latin American countries refuse to test their students using international tests. These tests would allow students in Latin American countries to be compared to students in other countries.

He also suggested that there is more interest in building schools (building contracts are political plums, same as in the US) and in enforcing attendance that in quality of education itself. The Federal Teacher's Union in Mexico is extremely powerful and wealthy at the national level. Politicians don't mess with them.

And in most Latin American countries, including Mexico, primary education is NOT free. Student's families are required to pay for supplies, special clothes, books, required lunches, etc. 18% of students in Latin America finish high school. Compared to 44% in East Asia. And finishing high school doesn't necessarily mean the student received an education.

Interesting and depressing article. Children in the Chacala primary school appear to actually be in class about 2 1/2 hours a day. At most. It's a four hour school day, but P.E., lunch, and other non-academic activities take up a lot of time.

About 1/3 of Chacala's primary, and many junior high age, school kids go to private schools in Las Varas. Their parents are hoping for a better education there. I hope it's true.


John W said...

Education in San Miguel de Allende, good or bad, certainly isn't free. I buy uniforms and supplies for Ana Maria's nine-year-old daughter, Teresa. We also support Mujeres in Cambio, an organization that provides financial support for girls who would drop out of school after fifth grade because of poverty. (Boys usually get family support; girls don't.)

Jennifer said...

I know the education system in Honduras isn't free either. And it isnt a great education either. That is one thing that I am not going to deal with in Honduras. I am going to homeschool all of them so that I know they are getting a good education, and are being taught how to think, instead of rote memorization.