The beginnings of the vicious cycle are the children of Antigua who come from families with little family support or monetary resources. They do have the option of obtaining an education by attending the school Nino Obrero. These children work to support their families financially although in many cases these children do not have a family. The school they attend is government funded, but the teachers who work there are studying to become teachers and are not yet licensed. The negative attitudes of these teachers and of the director of the school affect these children. The negativity is due in part to the fact that they do not want to be teaching kids like these and they get paid very little for what they are doing. The educational system in Guatemala is in crisis. Not only at Nino Obrero are the teachers getting paid very little, but in all the schools throughout Guatemala. Because of the low pay and the government’s not putting enough money into the educational system, public school teachers have been on strike for the past seven weeks. They are demanding a pay increase and a better infrastructure. Like many Latin American countries, the government is very corrupt and unstable. The government is taking money that should be used for education and other programs and is putting it into their own pockets. Even if the public school teachers do get their demands met, unfortunately the children who attend schools such as Nino Obrero will not receive the aid. They will continue to get a poor education by unlicensed teachers who do not want to be there. Many of the kids have a dream of becoming doctors, teachers, and secretaries. Unfortunately, they will be the ones who become the maids, the street vendor, and the ones who get all the poor jobs, leading to the continuation of the cycle of poverty.
Caia Harris, ’03 Atlantic, IA
Majors: Sociology, Spanish
Sponsor: Sally Farrington-Clute