When discussing community development, education is commonly cited as a key factor. As such, education has been an integral part of the Tasajera Tides indicator framework from the beginning. Discussions with community members validated this impression, and we have since made it a priority indicator.
There are three schools on the island, with both private and public schools in San Rafael and a public school in La Colorada. Thusfar Tasajera Tides can only publish data from the public school in San Rafael, but we hope to be able to provide data for the entirety of Tasajera Island in the future. Nonetheless, the data from the Scholastic Centre in San Rafael provides a truly in-depth understanding of the state of education on the Island.
As the data we have collected shows, declining school enrollment has been an issue in Tasajera. Over the past three years at the public school in San Rafael, initial enrollment has declined continuously from 120 in 2014 to 100 in 2016. This is certainly a discouraging trend.
Another interesting piece of information collected from this school was the troubling dropout rates. Overall, only 64% of students enrolled at the beginning of 2015 finished the year. With a dropout rate of just over a third, prospects for incoming students are less than promising. This issue is discussed in detail in the Education edition of Voices of Tasajera. Many factors cause students to drop out of the school, including lack of encouragement from parents, work and migration.
The data above displays school enrollment over the past three years separated by grade and gender. 2014 had a very balanced enrollment compared to the rest of the observed period. It is also important to note the apparent lack of continuity in the school. According to teachers in the school, many students have to repeat grades due to lack of attendance. Others simply drop out. This information is consistent with the observed data; the high enrollment in grade 1 in 2015 is repeated the next year instead of being passed on to grade 2.
It is difficult to pinpoint causes behind these trends, but projects like the Emana Summer School Project can have a resounding impact by providing resources and changing students’ attitudes towards education.