Saturday, March 04, 2006

More students -- will the resources come?

In an earlier post, I noted that the anti-poverty program Red Solidaria has led to a significant increase in school enrollment in the municipalities where the program is in effect. El Faro has published a new article looking at this situation. The Ministry of Education has measured a 19% increase in students in the Red Solidaria municipalities. This increase has left schools desperate for more resources including classrooms, teachers and school desks. So far the government has promised $3 million to provide these needed resources.

The El Faro story quotes one school director as noting that the $15 dollar monthly subsidy has "transformed the vision" of some families about the importance of education. If a child misses 4 days of school, the subsidy is cut off.

The school systems in El Salvador will need even more resources if they want to continue improving. The percentage of students who entered in the first grade and completed fifth grade increased from 58.1% in 1991 to 74.6% in 2002. There is a goal to increase this percentage to 100% by 2015, but that will require greater investment both in the schools and in the conditions of poverty in which many students live who do not currently finish school.

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