October 30, 2015
When Francisco Monroy, a pastor in the colonial Honduran city of Santa Rosa de Copan, saw the desperate state of the Honduran public education system, he wanted to do something but didn’t know what. Honduras spends the highest percentage of its GDP on education in the region but produces the second-lowest test scores.
The Association for a More Just Society-founded transparency coalition, Let’s Transform Honduras, gave Francisco, and 250 other volunteers in Western Honduras a concrete way to make change.
After nearly three years of working in public education, TH staff heard over and over that although quality textbooks were produced, they often were left abandoned in warehouses and never delivered to local schools. Teachers were left to develop their own curriculum with little guidance, meaning Honduran students hardly every reached educational standards.
This school year, TH staff trained the volunteers on how to monitor test book distribution and use in Honduran schools. They used 4 “states” in Western Honduras as a pilot project, and volunteers visited more than 100 schools, confirming if textbooks had arrived, if there were enough for all students, and if they were being put to use.
This past week, 50 of the volunteers, including Francisco, met together in Western Honduras to hear the results of their auditing work, and it seems like their presence made a difference. Only two schools in all four “states” didn’t receive textbooks, and in the majority of the cases, the teachers were using the textbooks.
According to TH coordinator, Blanca Munguia “This is great news for Honduran education!”
In addition to the 50 current volunteers at the gathering, 40 new volunteers, government authorities, and members of other non-profit organizations also attended, and many will join in the effort to audit textbooks, but also the number of school days, and teacher testing next year.
Francisco is excited about this prospect, “TH has created a network that allows many of us concerned about public education to come together to make change in our country. I know there´s a lot of work to be done but I’m also conscious that what we´re doing to stop corruption is being guided by God and he’ll always lead us forward.”