Guatemalan education faces serious problems: Nearly 31% of citizens over age 15 can’t read, and only two out of every five Guatemalan children finish the sixth grade. While strides have been made in the past decade to improve the Guatemalan education system, there are several obstacles to overcome in addressing the issue of poverty and education. Guatemala has the lowest literacy rate in Central America despite offering free and compulsory education for up to six years.
Low funding for education is one of the main obstacles for Guatemalan schools, leaving them ill-equipped to provide quality learning environments. And with half of Guatemalans living below the poverty line, it is difficult for families to send children to school when they need them work and contribute to the family income. Indigenous Guatemalans in particular have inadequate access to education as there are much higher rates of poverty among the indigenous population. ChildFund works with local partners to give indigenous children the means to receive an education, develop thinking skills and self-confidence.