For many children in Guatemala, lessons have to be learned on the street
In Guatemala, up to 1.5 million children are missing school to try to scrape a living on the streets. What can be done to get them back into classrooms?
The proportion of seven- to 12-year-olds enrolled in Guatemala's schools is rising, according to the United Nations, and has increased from 85% to 89% in the last 20 years. The Guatemalan government puts the figure at 95% – a jump, it says, from 89% eight years ago.
In Guatemala, there are 52 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to one murder per 100,000 in the UK and five per 100,000 in the US. Many predict this to increase this year, as tensions rise with the election of a new Guatemalan president in the autumn.
Guatemalans say more people are dying now than during the country's bitter 36-year civil war, which ended in 1996.
It's nearly impossible to judge how many children in Guatemala are missing out on a formal education to work the streets. Viva, an umbrella organisation for charities that help street children, says up to 1.5 million are consistently out of school – about a fifth of what the country's pupil population should be. Unesco's Education for All Global Monitoring Report, published this month, reckons one in 28 Guatemalan children are missing out on school.
Guatemala already has one of the worst poverty gaps in the world. Here there are more private helicopters per capita than anywhere else in central America, according to the US Department of Commerce. Meanwhile, Guatemala has the fourth highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world. And according to a study conducted last year by The Fund for Peace, a US-based research institute, the inequality is becoming worse.