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Saturday, March 6, 2010

El Salvador 2005 Journal XIII

What can the young people do? This is another question that we were faced with at Laura Lopez. The young people in these small communities are looking to their future. If a school is built it will prepare kids for high school. The next step becomes the challenge. It is very difficult for these small communities to get their kids to the next town to attend high school. Many students become discouraged at this stage and drop out. There is no sense that the government is ready to invest in the education of their citizens. There is

children of Laura Lopez

really very little chance that these students will make it to college or university.

In Suchitoto, PROGRESO runs a local scholarship program for high school students. High school scholarships amount to $80.00 a month. This covers food, transportation and the school uniform. At this point, seventeen students are receiving this assistance. These students are chosen from 75 local communities. Students are chosen for this assistance by a general community assembly. The entire family is assessed for their ability to support the student in their studies.

I have found in other countries that education is the key to development. In El Salvador the path to higher education is torturous. Only 20% of students reach junior high. At least 70% of the population don’t know how to write. The older population is uneducated. Teachers in the rural areas teach with a grade 3 education.

As a result, many people see that their only solution is to leave the country. This works out very well for the government. People who leave for jobs in Canada and the USA send home $250 million each year. This is a great boost to the economy with no outlay of money by the government.

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