Providing School Computers in Guatemala
eClub Member Adriel Osman Casteñeda is Director of the Mayan Center for Education and Development. He has a degree in Business Administration; his teaching specialty is in computer training. As the center’s computer geek, he has great popularity with both the teachers and students. Computers and Internet service at a school are rare commodities in this part of the country and Osman’s superior teaching abilities are in high demand. He serves in the administration of the Maya Jaguar High School in addition to his teaching duties in computer technology.
A computer sciences diploma is offered at the Maya Jaguar High School, along with one in academics and sustainable agriculture. It is the computer sciences diploma that is key to gaining entry to the best jobs. However, in order to assure that students can gain these valuable skills, laptop computers are urgently needed. Currently, middle school students are actually taught “keyboarding skills” on broken-down manual typewriters! The Department of Education brings in outside contractors who charge parents for this antiquated “training.” If parents opt not to pay the charges, students are denied their middle school diploma. We want to help alleviate this problem.
Guatemala has the highest illiteracy rate in Latin America—only 30% of youngsters graduate from primary school. An innovative school—the Maya Jaguar High School, located in a remote region of northwestern Guatemala (see map), is changing this reality. It’s vision: empower indigenous students to confront and overcome the centuries-long poverty of their people through quality education.
The goal of this pioneering educational facility is to teach the skills that will lead students to gainful employment, a profession, or the continuation of studies at university. However, students arrive unprepared. Why? In this age of technology, computer preparation is virtually unknown. We have the power to change that!