In school 40374 Elias Caceres Lozada, in rural Arequipa, 470 miles south of Lima, classrooms are full to capacity --a proud achievement for this rural school where 95% of children attend classes almost every day.
But their presence in a classroom is no guarantee kids are getting the education they need for their future development. Their parents don't know either, and have no way to measure how well teachers are doing.
It’s not a matter of quantity but of quality, say many students. “The government has to invest more in education, has to do more studies about the quality of our schools,” says Dante, a young Peruvian who made it to college.
To give all children the best chance in life, Peru is focusing on schooling, particularly at an early level. That’s the main idea of a basic education project President Ollanta Humala and World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim, formalized in Lima.
“Today, I think science and technology, training, and the intelligence and innovative capabilities of young Peruvians are our best bet. We have to give them opportunities,” said Humala at the signing ceremony.
The agreement will help implement an educational strategy benefiting six million students in 40,000 schools throughout the country.
It is in sync with Kim’s notion that quality education is every child’s right.
“The document we just signed is emblematic and seeks to provide opportunities for all,” added Kim.
More skills to students
Indeed education opportunities need improving in Peru. The country ranked near the bottom of 65 countries in math, reading comprehension and science following a recent evaluation, by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA - 2009), which tested a national sample of 15-year-old students.
In 2011, the study "Strengthening skills and employability in Peru” determined that in addition to professional training, students also required other types of skills to successfully enter the Peruvian labor market. These include socio-cultural ones, which are highly valued by employers.