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Shelby Espinosa

International Business
28 March 2019
Region: Central America

Country Selected: Nicaragua

Current Education Situation:


 Primary school is free and compulsory
o However, only 45% of students who enter primary school go on to secondary
school
o Only 30% of children enrolled make it through grade 6
o 51.6% primary school dropout rate
o Average number of years of schooling: 6.9
 One of the biggest problems is that poverty pushes children away from school and into
the labor market, particularly in rural areas and the isolated provinces

Figure 1

Figure 2 Figure 3
Goals Ranked:
1. Increase school enrollment in children living in rural areas
2. Increase the quality of education in rural areas
3. Close the gap between rural and urban areas when it comes to lower secondary school
enrollment
4. Create more opportunities for the people of Nicaragua
5. Increase nationwide literacy rate (currently the lowest of all C.A. countries)

Why Nicaragua:
 Lowest ranked country in education in Central America
 Approximately 42% of the population still lives below the poverty line
 1 out of every 5 Nicaraguans lives in extreme poverty
 Among the 300,000 families with children living in extreme poverty about 1/3 have at
least one child (aged 7-12) working and/or not going to school.
 A BIGGER IMPACT: In light of the current migrant crisis in Central America, it is
important now more than ever to help struggling countries such as Nicaragua. A lot of
focus, especially in the United States, is on keeping people, like Nicaraguans, away from
our boarders. Instead, we should work on building the country from within, so people can
find opportunity at home, instead of abroad. Education brings knowledge, but it also
brings power and opportunity.

The Proposal:
Ranked in order of priority
Because the grant of $1 million would not cover nearly enough to make a substantial
difference in Nicaragua, this proposal will focus on the rural areas of the country: the most
heavily in need for education reform, as mentioned above.

1. Increase teacher training- $40,000

40% of teachers in Nicaragua lack formal training, and the vast majority of these teachers work
in rural areas. Per student spending at the lower secondary level is just US$101 per year and
US$170 per year at the primary level, and the average teacher makes around US$100. So with
that in mind, the grant would supply more than enough money to hire and train more teachers at
these respective levels, and pay the teachers more for having better training. More teachers
means more students allowed in school to be educated. Likewise, better trained teachers means a
better education for students in these rural areas.

2. Expand access to preschool education- $500,000-$600,000

According to research, weaknesses in the supply and quality of preschool education, particularly
among disadvantaged rural households, are correlated with low retention and completion rates at
the primary level. Rural enrollment, 47%, is considerably lower than urban enrollment, 70%,
and 80% of rural preschool children are in community-based programs, which are generally of
lower quality. Low rural enrollment and poor quality are reflected at the primary level with much
lower retention and completion rates in rural areas compared to urban areas. This would be the
most costly out of all the objectives because it would call for more schools being built, more
teachers, and more training, but implementing more and better preschools may help with
retention rates down the line, and therefore improve the overall quality of education.

3. Better access to lower secondary education- $400,000-$500,000

Although the overall net enrollment rate in lower secondary is 45%, it is just 28% in rural areas
compared to 61% in urban areas. Therefore, access to lower secondary education must become
easier for children in rural areas. Majority of the reason young children leave school is to start
working in order to make money for their family. And because of the living conditions
throughout Nicaragua, this may be something that is hard to change. However, we propose a half
day system, where children go to school for an abbreviated amount of time during the day, so
they still have time to work. With this system, children are still being educated but are also still
able to help support their families. This objective would dip into the increase teacher training, as
well as possibly having to build more accessible lower secondary schools in rural areas.

Risks:
 Many people from Central American countries, excluding majority of Costa Rica and
Panama, have distrust, anger, and resentment toward the United States and Americans.
With this in mind, the government and the people of Nicaragua may not be so keen on
letting Americans build/restructure their schools and education.
 The cost might outweigh the benefits. From strictly researching facts, this proposal would
benefit Nicaraguans immensely. However, that is assuming a better education system is
something the people want. A large amount of money could be spent, only for the plan to
not have the desired effect.

More Questions:
 I have no experience with education costs/pricing. Are my numbers unreasonably
low/high? I would need more time and information to explore the exact costs of
education in Nicaragua
 How would we maintain the program put in place?
o Would we be eligible for a bigger grant or another grant, if needed?
 How long would a proposal of this nature take to implement?
 What are the barriers to entry Nicaragua?
 How would we accurately measure the effects of the proposal?
 Is Nicaragua and its education system ‘too far gone’ to help?

Word Count: 920

Value: A good outline on the objectives needed for the grant proposal, as well as quality research
presented in an organized manner. But I also think I asked good questions that if this grant
proposal was real, I would be able to explore and implement the answers.