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Why do Guanajuato students quit school? (Part 2)

By Antonio De Jesús Aguado

In our February 16 issue we reported that in Guanajuato 76 out of 1,000 students drop out of secondary school and 31 out of 1,000 leave primary school, from a total enrollment of more than a million students. This is according to the study Escolares de Guanajuato, entre el Abandono, la Deserción y la Expulsión, which also showed that San Miguel de Allende is one of the municipalities with the highest attrition rates in the urban zone.

School year 2012–2013

There are 200 primary schools in San Miguel, 160 in rural communities and 40 within the urban area, 13 of which are private. For secondary studies there are 60 schools, 45 in rural areas another 15 in the municipality, nine of which are private. When the 2012–2013 school year begins more than 34,000 students will take to the classrooms, although the number of students who will finish their education is unknown. If the the research presented in 2010 is any indication, in the municipality 806 students will abandon their dreams of primary education this school year, and 684 will leave secondary schools without graduating.

Attrition in public schools

Sylvia Van Dijck Kocherthaler, a researcher from the Universidad de Guanajuato, said that students leave public schools for several reasons related to their social and family lives, and for others related to the institutions themselves, such as the extreme authoritarianism of the teachers, boring classes, violence among students, and other causes. According to Van Dijck, although this holds true for public schools, research demonstrated that students in private schools do not abandon their education; they just change from one private school to another or to public school.

Distribution, a government measure

In order to curb the drop-out rate and also alleviate school overpopulation, the government launched a distribution program that consists of sending documents to students’ parents before their children finish their kindergarten education and primary school. Parents are allowed to select four public schools for their children, according to location, convenience or other preference. The completed documents must be sent to the Secretariat of Public Education, which assigns each student to a school. This year the process ended in February for the public schools.

In contrast, private institutions of learning in the city try every year to enroll more students in kindergarten, primary and secondary school. Current registration is close to 4000 students, and enrollments are processed all year long. Some of the principals said that their maximum number of students per class is 24, they have certified personnel and quality facilities, and some also hold classes longer than the official school calendar issued by the Secretariat of Education in Guanajuato.

Curricula and costs of some private schools

Escuela/School Ubicación/Location Valores que promueven/Promoted values Actividades extracurriculares/Extracurricular activites Colegiaturas mensuales/Monthly fees
Primaria/Primary Secundaria/Secondary
José Vasconcelos Barrio del Obraje Responsabilidad, respeto, solidaridad/Responsability, respect, solidarity Música, arte y deportes/Music, art and sports 3,485 pesos 3,635 pesos
Naciones Unidas La Lagunita Respeto, honestidad, trabajo en equipo/Respect, honesty, teamwork Artes plásticas, música, danza, deportes/Fine arts, music, dance, sports 3,300 pesos 3,400 pesos
María del Refugio Aguilar Colonia Guadalupe Humildad, calidad, alegría, respeto, solidaridad, amistad, justicia/Humilityquality, happiness, respect, solidarity, friendship,  justice Religión, música, pintura, canto, baile/Religion, music, painting, singing, dancing 1,300 pesos 1,650 pesos
Instituto las Casas Centro Respeto, compañerismo, disciplina/Respect/teamwork, discipline. Computación, religión, inglés, danza, música/Computing, religión, English, dance and music, 1,090 pesos 1, 575 pesos


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