Preschool, pre-primary and primary education (0–16 years) is compulsory and free of charge. The state provides school supplies; health, nutrition and recreation services; infrastructure; school furniture, and basic textbooks.
Resources are allocated from the central government to the municipalities based on the proportion of students enrolled. The National Education Act recognizes three types of institution responsible for the education process. Public schools offer free education and are managed and funded by the state. Private schools may be subsidized by the state if they offer free services, serve low-income populations, promote better quality education and implement pedagogical innovations (in 2017 they received USD 13.8 million (0.6 per cent of education spending), equivalent to 104.8 million Guatemalan quetzals (GTQ). Finally, non-profit cooperative schools receive funding from the municipality, parents and the Ministry of Education (in 2017, 1,108 schools received USD 22 million (GTQ 175 million) – 0.9 per cent of public spending on education).
In 2017, USD 2.2 billion was spent on education in total (GTQ 17 billion) – 24 per cent of the national budget. State spending on education was USD 926 purchasing power parity (PPP) per primary school student and PPP USD 415 per secondary school student. The school-age population totalled 7.4 million students.
This is aimed at indigenous preschool and primary school students. In 2017, 928,174 pupils (12.5 per cent of the school-age population) received bilingual education, costing USD 14.7 million (GTQ 112.14 million) – 0.65 per cent of public spending on education.
USD 0.23 (GTQ 0.13) is allocated per preschool or primary school pupil in municipalities with a high prevalence of chronic malnutrition, rural areas and situations of extreme poverty. In 2017, the programme benefited 2.4 million pupils (32.4 per cent of the school-age population) at a cost of USD 88.3 million (GTQ 675.5 million) – 3.95 per cent of public spending on education.
The Ministry of Education allocates USD 7.18 (GTQ 55) per student in public nurseries and primary schools in rural areas. In 2017, this programme benefited 2.2 million preschool and primary school students in urban and rural areas, and a total of USD 15.2 million (GTQ 116 million) was invested, representing 0.68 per cent of public spending on education.
In 2017, the approved budget for scholarships was USD 12.4 million (GTQ 94 million) – 0.55 per cent of public spending on education. The scholarships aimed at vulnerable populations are as follows:
Study scholarships: aimed at low-income students in the public and cooperative sectors. Each student is provided with an annual allowance of USD 118 (GTQ 900). In 2017, 31,264 study scholarships were awarded to secondary school students
Scholarships for students with disabilities: an annual scholarship of USD 130 (GTQ 1,000) for students with disabilities in official nurseries, primary schools and secondary schools. In 2017, 4,478 students received this scholarship.
Social scholarship programme: scholarships and conditional cash transfers to people living in poverty and extreme poverty. For secondary education, a secondary education social scholarship supports adolescents and youth aged 11–24 years in public or private schools endorsed by the Ministry of Education. In 2017, 5,700 secondary education scholarships were awarded and the budget allocated for that year was USD 1.9 million (GTQ 14.9 million) – 0.08 per cent of public spending on education. The higher education social scholarship supports young people aged 16–28 years with an allocation of USD 328 (GTQ 2,500). In 2017, 500 scholarships were awarded and the approved budget was USD 287,704 (GTQ 2.2 million) – 0.01 per cent of public spending on education.
This is a conditional cash transfer programme implemented by the Ministry of Social Development, aimed at poor and severely poor households with children aged 0–15 years in regions with chronic high malnutrition. USD 65–USD 168 (GTQ 500–GTQ 12,833) is transferred monthly per household if children aged 6–15 years are enrolled and attending school regularly. In 2017, the programme invested USD 40.6 million (GTQ 298.3 million) – 0.05 per cent of GDP – and benefited 154,000 households (5.9 per cent of Guatemala’s population).
This is a Ministry of Social Development conditional cash transfer programme that grants USD 33 (GTQ 250) and gives poor and severely poor households in urban and rural areas access to food from the basic food basket. One of the inclusion criteria is that children aged 0–15 years who are of school age are enrolled in an education centre.