Partner since 2013
Investment to date: $28,000
Students in 2016: 250
Cumulative Students: >300
Miguel Asturias Academy (Asturias) operates as a not-for-profit school in the Quetzaltenango area where poverty and low access to quality learning, especially beyond primary, is the norm. Established by Jorge Chojolán – a passionate educator and advocate for disadvantaged indigenous Mayan students – the Academy’s curriculum is inspired by the Brazilian, Paolo Freire and has been recognized by the Ministry of Education. Asturias enrolls 250 or students (50% girls) annually in pre-Kindergarten through secondary school.
At Asturias, girls and boys are deeply engaged in an educational experience that encourages critical thinking, an understanding of one’s own culture and history, and becoming an active participant in society. For older students, during their last two years at the Academy, students sign up for technical/vocational oriented courses while continuing to engage various school activities that might include music, chess, sports, and community service.
These final years ensure that they leave with practical skills and understanding for employment and social entrepreneurship that will better enable them to secure a livelihood and also fund their later university studies.
- The Academy's curriculum draws from the national curriculum framework and, at the same time, is inspired by the education philosopher Paolo Freire.
- There is a strong focus on developing critical thinkers as well as engaged and aware students and citizens. To do this, Asturias uses monthly themes, decided upon by a group of students, parents and administrators, such as gender, racism, environment and indigenous rights, etc.
- Students progress is assessed through reviews and discussions with teachers of their portfolio of projects and school work, their engagement in extra curricular activities and their interactions with their peers
- The Miguel Angel Asturias Academy has a well-stocked library that is has open access to all students throughout the day - a rarity in Guatemala.
- In 2015-2016, Asturias engaged an external researcher to assist them with their first follow up study of all students who had graduated from the Academy.
- The Academy plans to continue to track its alumni in the coming years and will use the results and learning to improve its programming and mobilize resources.
- The Academy’s 'Edu-tourism’ program creates educational travel opportunities for students and adults to visit, volunteer and learn about Guatemala and the Asturias Academy.