Hola from Honduras. This is Chelsea, the advisor for ASB Honduras. I have the privilege of working with the amazing student leaders on this trip and introducing everyone to two amazing OYE members. Please meet Sam and Morgan, who have worked with OYE since 2009 and currently serve in the role of Director (Sam) and Volunteer Coordinator (Morgan). We couldn’t ask for better hosts. Through their preparations for our group they have arranged a number of panels on Honduran reality, today’s topic of Education, and tomorrow’s topic of Corporate Social Responsibility. The ability to connect with the country, learn from educators from El Progresso, and begin to understand the corruption/ issues that are prevalent in Honduras has given the work OYE and our group is doing another level of meaning. The great thing about OYE is all the projects are planned and implemented by Honduran youth coordinators (art, sports, magazine, radio, etc.) through Sam and Morgan helping as translators we have been able to dance, paint, and interact with many of these coordinators.
Panel on Education-
Today’s panel featured two area teachers and a member of a youth network dedicated to improving the education system in Honduras. Through the presentation we learned about UNESCO’s tenants of education and the United Nations declaration of access to quality education being a universal basic human right. Unfortunately, this is not the situation in Honduras. Problems with lack of resources, cost of education, lack of teaching positions for trained educators, over crowded class sizes (the average Honduran class size is 50-70 students), and corruption in the education system prevent many students from completing their primary education. An example given by one of the educators was “if 1,000 students started elementary school, 900 would go on to high school, only 400 will graduate and of that 400 maybe 10 will go on to university and graduate.” Change is needed in all areas of education. They need better and more resources, a government that is able to provide for its people, and a system of education that is truly equal access. In Honduras if you have any extra money you send your children to private school because this is the only way to ensure that your child will receive a quality education. Often times the public school teachers are not paid which results in frequent teacher strikes and school being closed. Overall, through the presentations and question and answer sessions I think that we all have a better understanding of the educational reality here in Honduras and how privileged we have been with our K-12 and higher education system. I know I personally have such a great appreciation for the work of OYE and the interest in the youth to better the system. I believe that education can solve many of societies problems and appreciated hearing another cultures views on the importance of education.