A Weekly Journal Chronicling My Life
As It Intersects With The Garbage Dump Community Near La Ceiba, Honduras

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

School Supplies

So here's a gripe I have with this country of Honduras. Goodness knows education doesn't come cheap, the money to pay for it has to come from somewhere and in the U.S. it comes out of the pockets of taxpayers. In Pennsylvania, how wealthy and deep a tax base a school district has determines the level of education it can offer. The system ain't perfect but it sure beats Hondie. Here each family is required to provide uniforms, textbooks, gym uniforms and a list of school supplies that boggles the mind (do 4th graders really need 6 notebooks, markers, pens, pencils, caligraphy books, crayons and colored pencils?). For a family with more than one student this can turn into an expense of hundreds of dollars. Not to mention that for high school if you want your child to learn anything other than how to buy and sell drugs and lessons in petty theft you need to enroll them in a private school which means tuition fees and even longer lists of school supplies and required textbooks. This then has the effect of making a real education, one that goes beyond 6th grade, virtually unattainable for a huge swath of people in this country. How can a family that struggles to survive from day to day be expected to round up the funds to send their children even to the local public high school? Compulsary Education here is nominally free and actually a pay-to-learn system that perpuates the cyclical and deep poverty that can be found just about anywhere in Honduras. It's frustrating, saddening and mind-numbingly stupid. And life goes on.
We've done our best to help families out with some of the costs but providing a few notebooks here and some pencils and crayons there only does so much.

down at market with bags full of notebooks for a slew of kids back at the dump

our scholarship high schoolers were given a list of required texts and supplies that I could not believe. for one student the supplies and books alone cost $150. i spent the night before the first day of school sorting out everything into 7 piles.

1 comment:

Missionaries in La Ceiba, Honduras said...

We finished up with much the same...it was laborious but fun at the same time. And I couldn't agree more - as in any country - where education isn't valued, there is a direct relationship with the poverty in the country. Maybe you should run for President next time :-)