Spanish School Dropout Rates on the Rise
By Cynthia Ord
XELA, Guatemala – According to a recent study by MINEDUC, Guatemala’s Ministry of Education, Spanish students are dropping out of school weeks earlier than they had originally planned. In extreme cases, students quit classes mid-week, failing to attend the graduations held every Friday or to receive their “diplomas.”
The Spanish school community is alarmed by the study’s findings, which show that students who drop out of school prematurely are less likely to succeed as travelers in Latin America and Spanish conversationalists. Fernando Torres de Garcia, director of MINEDUC, expressed his concern about the trend. “In the highly competitive global market, a Photoshop certificate of Spanish school completion from Guatemala can be a sharp advantage,” he observes. “Why would you throw that away?”
The study identifies several causes of early dropout, including friendship with Guatemalans, time constraints due to volunteer work, unsupportive host family environments, frequent drug and alcohol use, tuition prices relative to private instruction, and general laziness.
Recent dropout Kevin Stein reports that “four hours of grammar lessons starting at 8am was complete overload. It’s just too much for a hungover brain to handle.” Stein claims that his daily three hours of TV in Spanish are just as effective as Spanish class. Another dropout who wishes to remain anonymous admits that she hasn’t told her parents she quit school. “Now that I’m dating a Guatemalan Spanish teacher, I get loads of one-on-one Spanish for free. I love it when he talks to me in the subjunctive tense.”
In response to the recent findings, Spanish schools are developing new strategies to keep students in school longer. One school offers fieldtrips to Bake Shop only for those who are enrolled in the upcoming week. Another school requires all its teachers to be funny, flirtatious, and very attractive.