As Peru’s economy has grown rapidly in recent years, the Government of Peru (GOP)—recognizing the link between quality education and socio-economic development—has made significant strides to improve its education system. Although Peru has achieved nearly universal access to basic education, poor educational quality and inequity persist, particularly in rural areas, where about a third of the population lives and where poverty is highest. The GOP is committed to decentralizing education and improving teaching quality, with a goal of ensuring that all students meet grade-level learning standards.
Children participating in a group activity as part of the active
school approach in a rural school in San Martin.
USAID/PERU/SUMA Education Program:
In 2009, USAID/Peru started a five-year education program, SUMA, which supports GOP efforts to improve basic education in the most disadvantaged communities of the regions of San Martín, Ucayali, Ayacucho, Lima Province, Amazonas, and Cajamarca. Building on the methodologies and results achieved under earlier USAID programs, SUMA is helping the GOP achieve two key objectives: (1) strengthening participatory and decentralized education management through policy reforms and improved management; and (2) improving the quality of teaching by helping set standards and incentives for improved teacher performance. Through a Partnership Challenge Fund, the program actively supports public-private partnerships to leverage resources and further enhance results. Under SUMA, USAID helps the Ministry of Education (MED) streamline its organizational structure at the national level and improve education management, information systems, and in-service teacher training in sub-national regions.
Teacher and student using a specialized white board
to read and write in a multi-grade school in San Martin.
Building on Past Successes:
SUMA has built its strategy based on successful USAID projects: Innovations in Decentralization and Active Schools (AprenDes). Completed in August 2009, AprenDes focused on strengthening multi-grade, primary schools in rural areas. The project reached more than 16,000 students and 690 teachers from 366 schools and involved more than 10,000 parents in their children’s education. Student learning in project schools, measured with standardized testing, was three times better than in control schools in 2007. AprenDes began in the San Martín region and expanded to the regions of Ucayali and Amazonas, mostly in former coca-growing communities. Six regional governments received assistance in the formulation of Public Investment Projects that generated $12 million of additional public resources for education. In July 2009, the MED publicly endorsed the active school model to the regional governments for further replication.
Andean Center for Excellence in Teacher Training (CETT): The Andean CETT program, which ended in January 2010, was a teacher training program aimed at improving reading and writing instruction in the first three primary grades. The center in Peru served Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia, and trained teachers in the regions of Lima, Callao, Piura, Ucayali, Ica and Cusco. Since 2003, CETT trained more than 3,500 teachers and principals, benefitting more than 120,000 students.
Third grade students reading with their CETT-trained teacher in a Piura school.
In the last year, SUMA supported the Strategic Program for Learning Outcomes (PELA), a GOP Budgeting-for-Results reform program in education. Through PELA, USAID leveraged $7.4 million of GOP public investment to benefit 2,261 teachers and 34,641 students in targeted poor areas. PELA directly links programmatic and financial reforms to learning results, which will be a cornerstone of education reform in Peru.
SUMA also provided technical assistance to four regions for improving their education management system, based on USAID’s experience in San Martin. The project has trained 632 MED officials and regional government staff, as well as teacher coaches and facilitators. Five regional governments received support to design and implement PIPs for education in the regions for a total value of $15.3 million. SUMA also completed a cost study for education that will help the GOP standardize the resources needed by any school to provide quality service and improve planning and budgeting at the national and sub-national levels.
It is important to also note that, during last year’s GOP transition period, SUMA served as an important think tank for the Transition Commission, providing the Commission not only with policy recommendations in education, but also responding quickly with specific studies and technical opinions on bilingual education to support the request to the Congress for additional resources for education.
Finally, USAID promotes public-private alliances in the education sector. A new MOU was signed with a private foundation in northern Peru that plans to contribute $1 million to join efforts in strengthening education management and improving education quality in the region of Cajamarca.
Partners: Ministry of Education, Regional Governments of San Martín, Ucayali, Amazonas, Ayacucho, Cajamarca and Lima Provinces, National Council of Education, National Assembly of Regional Governments, and Asociación Los Andes de Cajamarca (ALAC).
Implementing Partner: Family Health International (FHI).
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