Doesn't the govenment pay for schooling? Why do students need sponsorship?
This is the number one question we get, and the short answer to the first questions is "Kind of." While the government does pay for the teachers and the building, the students are responsible for all kinds of additional costs that make it difficult, if not impossible, for many students to attend school, even if it is "free."
Well, if the government covers the cost of the teachers and schools, what else is there? Most of the sponsorship money goes to cover the following costs:
Q5-Q10 ($0.69- $1.38) per day for snacks
Physical education uniforms
Tennis shoes (or other athletic shoes)
"Event Fees": Independence Day, Friendship Day, Camping, a trip to the City (Guatemala City)
We have also been asked about the difference between private and public school. The honest answer (from what we have seen and from other NGO's we've talked to) is that private school is indeed better than public school for many reasons. That being said, public school is the only realistic option for many of the students that do not live in Santiago. The outlying villages, like Chacaya, are too far away for the students to attend private school. While in the United States transportation is provided for students who live far from a school, Guatemala does not currently offer similar luxeries except in extreme cases. A student who lives "far" (2+ miles) from a school would have to hitchhike in the back of a truck or catch a Tuk-Tuk everyday. While this may be possible, it is not a reliable form of transportation, and would result in the student missing several days of school.
This is not to say that the public schools are not good. Far from it! Our visit to EORN No. 2 Aldea San Antonion Chacaya left us with the impression that the students were educated to the best of the staff's ability. The teachers were caring and fantastic. That being said, the private schools tend to have more resources.
If it is possible, we will work with the sponsors to get the students in to a private school. Each situation is case by case.
Again, "free" is relative, but the Guatemalan government covers the cost of teachers and the building for all students until the 6th grade. After that, most students need to cover most, if not all, educational costs.
Need help deciding who needs your educational support the most? Want to sponsor a boy or girl of a different age? Let us help! Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to find you the match you are looking for!
If you donate to the Educational General Fund, we can support students where they need it most! It may be books, uniforms, field trips, school supplies, etc.
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