Did you know?
In Mexico, students complete an average 9.1 years of schooling; while in Chiapas, students complete 7.4 years of schooling. In other words, students aren’t going to high school. High school graduates are more likely to have children as adults, increased earnings and creates happier and healthier communities.
Since 1998, we have provided hundreds of thousands of students with the motivation to continue going to school. We have achieved this by providing students with scholarships, creating classroom activities and building classrooms. As we’ve grown and learned more about the students in Chiapas and their needs, we have changed our programs to ensure the best results.
To do this, we measure our programs through a randomized control trial, this helps us better understand our programs’ impact. Let’s say we have a group of ten schools, five schools will be randomly selected to receive our program while five will be the comparison group. We use this method because RCTs are considered the best method to measure impact and it helps us update our program year to year and provide students with what will motivate them the most to stay in school.
Escalera promotes access and quality education through building schools, delivering programs in schools, partnering with school systems, and focussing in a defined set of communities where we have strong ties. Each program is designed in collaboration with academic researchers drawing from empirical evidence about what works.
Since 2013 we have been implementing REACH, short for High School within REACH. This program motivates students who are in 9th grade (the last year of middle school in Mexico) to enroll and stay in high school. Our comprehensive scholarship program is tailored to meet the needs of indigenous students from Los Altos region. REACH is generally the only educational support offered in this rural and indigenous context. Despite all adversities, students, parents and teachers have joined our movement to make education possible for all.
In order to help students strengthen the skills they need to succeed upon graduation and learn to create businesses, since 2018 we have been offering an entrepreneurship training program, COBACH Emprende. The first pilot of this entrepreneurial training started in collaboration with Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Lab (J-PAL), and the U.S.-Mexico Research Center from the University of California-San Diego. Every year the Emprende program trains public teachers to equip their students with technical and soft skills that will help them succeed whether they continue to study or enter the workforce.
Since our start in 1998, we have built more than a hundred safe and weather-proof spaces around the state of Chiapas. Each school building project is done in partnership with the local, municipal, and state governments. As the REACH scholarship program has increased high school enrollment, we have focused our school building in villages where enrollment increases as a result of REACH’s impact.
LOCAL LEARNING UNITS: Recovering educational continuity and quality in Los Altos
This program aims to reduce the educational gap exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic in rural and indigenous communities in Los Altos, Chiapas through the creation of five learning units. Promoting the generation of community participatory dialogs will help teachers and other stakeholders to strengthen pedagogical strategies to overcome educational loss and to address other important issues like language barriers faced by indigenous students. Furthermore, a task force will be created to include the educational needs of the indigenous communities in the social and educational policies of Chiapas.