The Textbook Program
“[With textbooks] I make full use of class time since there’s more to learn. The book gives more content that can be useful to my students in their lives.”
With textbooks, program teachers have 25% more time to engage their students in questions, discussion, and critical thinking.
97% of schools that have been active in the program for more than 5 years have renewed their books at least once through the revolving fund.
Imagine Learning without Books
More than 90% of schools in rural Guatemala don’t have access to textbooks. Without them, students waste most of their learning time copying the teacher’s notes from the blackboard. Not surprisingly, they quickly lose motivation and enthusiasm for school, and drop out. Of every 10 children in Guatemala, only four will make it to middle school, and only two will complete secondary school. This means that a staggering 80% or more of young, rural Guatemalans never graduate from high school!
Textbooks Make the Difference
The Textbook Program has a 26-year successful track record of increasing the amount of material covered in classes, improving the learning experience, and reducing dropout rates by an average of 16%. We estimate that more than 300 students who are in the program this year decided to stay in school because of the Textbook Program. Studies show that, simply by staying in school, young people in Guatemala can improve their earning potential by as much as 182%. With higher wages, they can escape the hardship that has plagued their families for generations—breaking the cycle of poverty, once and for all.
An independent study of the Textbook Program also showed that Textbook Program students score higher on standardized math and reading tests than students at comparison schools.
How the Program Works
The GLP provides a low-cost, sustainable solution for giving students access to textbooks. Every program participant “rents” a set of books in core subjects like math, science, Spanish language, and social studies for a small monthly fee (about $1.50). Books are purchased in bulk directly from a large Guatemalan publisher, thus securing the lowest possible price and contributing to the local economy.
Teachers also receive training in how to effectively use textbooks in their classrooms. Each teacher attends three training seminars when their school enters the program, and receives follow-up coaching sessions in their own classroom. Teachers learn how to use the textbooks to engage students in the learning process and to achieve the objectives of Guatemala’s national middle school curriculum.
The GLP designs its programs to thrive and survive into the future. We work cooperatively with parents, teachers, principals, and students to create strategies for educational development in their communities.
All student rental fees collected go into a fund managed by the project’s partner nonprofit, Cooperative for Education. After five years, enough money has accrued to begin replacing the books. This means that once the GLP makes the initial investment, each Textbook Program becomes 100% self-sustaining. And this model isn’t just theoretical: 97% of schools that have had a Textbook Program for more than five years have begun renewing their books with money saved through their revolving funds.
Once a Textbook Program is up and running, school administration takes over its day-to-day management. And since parents make financial contributions to the program, they have a vested interest in its success. All members of the school community experience the pride, confidence, and dignity that comes from helping themselves.
Textbook school sponsorships are implemented through our partner organization, Cooperative for Education.