Methods of Education-Based Intervention within Latin America (Angel Martinez)

At a time of slow economic growth, it’s important to recognize that lower-income Latin American countries would have difficulty addressing the issue of education quality/equity due to financial constraints. However, Improving the quality of education in Latin American countries will be met with limited success if we simply provide schools with technological advancements.  Therefore, to be most effective in bringing change, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) could partner with local communities to employ educational programs. In doing so, NGOs could lead in these initiatives and address social and infrastructural issues by tailoring programs to specific communities. Joan Anderson researched various program approaches and interventions to figure out which were most/least effective including, food aid programs, textbook distribution, in-service teacher training, tutors/mentors, and cash payments-scholarships. His research found that school lunch programs showed no great benefit to a students education, besides increasing attendance. Anderson describes it to be a “blind alley”, a costly program that yields minimal results. Conversely, textbook distribution programs, such as Mexico’s Programa para Abatir el Rezago Educativo (PARE) and Programa Nacional para Leer y Escribir (PRONALEES) have yielded positive results. PARE has developed and distributed books in up to eight indiginesous languages and PRONALEES has improved the literacy and reading level of all students. In Nicaragua, a study in which some students were given textbooks and others were not, found that the students with textbooks performed one-third of a standard deviation higher than the students without. By researching the benefits of various interventions, NGOs and local communities will be better informed to develop programs that can be most efficient.

Works Cited

Anderson, Joan B. “Improving Latin America’s School Quality: Which Special Interventions 

Work? ”Comparative Education Review, vol. 49, no. 2, 2005, pp. 205–229. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/428720. Accessed 14 Feb. 2020.

Hewko, John. “How Can We Transform Education in Latin America?” World Economic Forum,

www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/05/how-can-we-transform-education-in-latin-america/.

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