Not All Schools in El Salvador Are the Same

(Drawings by Grecia Bartolo)  

      In El Salvador there are different kinds of school policies, different schedules, and different ways how to educate the students. They are different from the U.S. and they are even differences in El Salvador. The classes start on the last days of January or beginning February and finishing between October and November and some schools have different schedules than others. But the most common schedule is to enter school around 7:00 a.m. and to get off about 12:30 p.m. But some schools have schedules like American schools, getting off between 2:30 and 3:00 p.m. Also in El Salvador they have everything together, elementary, middle and high schools in one building. That means we don't need to be switching every four years of school
     Public Schools in El Salvador are really poor and they are the majority of the ones in the countryside. But even though they are public schools, they cost around $50 per year and the students have to provide their own uniforms, their own supplies, and their own transportation. The public school buildings are small. The classrooms often don't have enough materials to support all the students who are attending and the classes are overpopulated. Many schools don't provide food for the students. There are many kinds of private schools from the cheapest ones to the more expensive. For example the expensive ones are bilingual. They are located in the capital of El Salvador, which is San Salvador. There are schools that teach in French, German or English beginning when the students are in kindergarten.
     The Ones that teach in German or French also teach English as a subject. The private schools have the same schedules as the U.S. They begin their school year at September and they finish at June. The most expensive schools cost about $2000 per year with parents paying $250 monthly. To sign up in the school in the beginning cost around $3000. The medium priced schools cost around $50 to $90 monthly, with a cost of $700 to get into the school. People who own these schools are usually rich people who have a business having schools. But they have to be approved by the education minister. The cheapest schools are usually the religious ones. Those cost around $20 to $50 monthly. Salvadorian schools have some strict rules in the physical aspect of the student. For example boys cannot have long hair, wear body piercings, or have tattoos. Girls can't be wearing mini skirts. No hats are allowed and they can only wear black shoes. Couples can't be holding hands or kissing each other. They can get suspended for that. Their uniforms have to be perfectly clean, no wrinkles and the shirts must be tucked inside of the pants or skirts
   All Salvadorians seniors have to be prepared to take a very difficult test called the P.A.E.S ( Prueba de Aptitudes para Egresados de Educacion Media). It is a national test that covers everything the students have learned since they begun to study, including science, social studies, math, and language. It's a really difficult test that take four hours. The students don't have to pass it, but some universities require it. Before taking the test, the students get prepared in the subjects and do reviews about what is coming in the test. The test is not easy for seniors with all the subjects in one test, especially for students who are not really prepared. That's because some of the schools they are graduating from, especially public schools where the education is not really as advanced as private schools. But with that test, the students can see how well prepared they are to get out into a real life

© Copyright Silver International Newspaper, Montgomery Blair H.S. 2004 (This page was created by Sarah Bucknor and Kerry )