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In Oaxaca, the 2nd poorest state in Mexico, the average child only completes 7 ½ years of schooling. After the age of 15 years old, the percentage of children attending school drops from 91.3% to only 37.9%, with only 30.5% of 3-year-olds attending school. The reasons for this vary, but in Oaxaca, even the public schools come with a cost for families. Uniforms, materials, books, etc.; families with children attending public schools are required to provide everything but the teachers and the building and even then, they are often asked to pay for building repairs and teacher bonuses.
In addition to the cost, corruption and political upheaval plague the public schools, during the numerous teachers’ strikes schools close leaving parents to struggle with childcare and huge gaps in their child’s education.
At Paz, like Gandhi, we believe that to affect real change in society we must begin with the children through equitable quality education. We believe that the Montessori method teaches children peaceful conflict resolution, a deep appreciation and respect for self, others, and their community, as well as a profound love of learning. These skills, in addition to the lessons in math, language, etc., will change the world.
And while Paz believes that education is key to freeing Oaxaca of the systemic corruption and violence faced daily, many Oaxacans struggle with the most basic needs. Only 8% of Oaxacan’s do NOT lack one of life’s basic needs. With these economic struggles facing so many; the option of quality education is far out of reach. Though some can pay the cost of quality private schools, many cannot.