High drop out rate plagues El Salvador's schools

Statistics from El Salvador's Ministry of Education show that the majority of students in El Salvador who complete sixth grade will not complete high school (bachillerato).   As reported in La Presna Grafica, only 42.6% of students who were in sixth grade in 2011 were still in school in 2016.   The national class of approximately 135 thousand sixth graders had dropped to 58 thousand still in school.  This drop out rate creates significant challenges for the students to successfully earn a future living and for the country to have an educated work force which can produce economic growth.

There are two primary reasons that youth fail to continue school according to officials cited by La Prensa Grafica.  The first is poverty.   Poor students are often forced to leave their schooling in order to work and help support their family.   Rural youth in poor families may be needed to work in the fields.   The second reason is violence and the lack of security.   Threats from gangs and the perils of crossing gang boundaries were cited as causing as many as 14-15,000 students to drop out of school.

For more background on the challenges facing El Salvador's educational system, you may want to read this 2015 report from the Council on Hemispheric Affairs.