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Helping Children Return to School in El Salvador

Plan International is helping girls, like Adriana, re-join their classes after falling behind in their studies.

Adriana is a 10-year-old Salvadoran girl. In school, she was two years behind other children her age because she fell back in her studies and repeated primary school.

When her teachers noticed she was older than the other children in her class, they encouraged her to take part in a program developed by Plan International and the Ministry of Education. The program supports girls and boys who have dropped out of school or fallen behind in their lessons.

Each year, thousands of Salvadoran girls and boys stop attending school for different reasons and fall behind in their studies. The 2016 Household and Multipurpose Survey, which outlines the social and economic situation of Salvadoran homes, showed that 6.8 percent of children aged 7 to 15 are not attending school. To respond to these issues, Plan offered its experience in the education field to the El Salvador Ministry of Education.

Through Plan’s Accelerated Education program, educational opportunities have been expanded and spaces opened where children can acquire the necessary knowledge to catch up. Teachers have been trained so they can provide practical and educational lessons.

At the same time, the performance of children is closely monitored and they receive psychological assistance to increase their self-esteem and identify the barriers that keep them from attending school.

For the program to work, it requires the participation of government, schools, parents, and community members. Plan is working with community leaders and volunteers to identify more children who have dropped out of school or fallen behind in their studies to invite them to become part of this project.

In six months, 2,000 children living in 16 municipalities of El Salvador have taken part in the Accelerated Education program and will re-join the educational system by the end of 2017.

Adriana has now caught up with her studies. By the beginning of this year, she hopes to be in the fifth grade, alongside children her own age.

“The program is for many children who do not have the opportunity of studying but would like to do so and pass their school grades,” she said. “Studying is what matters most.”

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