Information by Country

Guatemala: Background

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Problems hindering social development include high crime rates, illiteracy and low levels of education and health. Some 75,000 severely malnourished children have been identified, a consequence of three simultaneous emergencies: chronic poverty, drought and the coffee crisis. Some 67 per cent of indigenous children suffer from chronic malnutrition.

More children at younger ages are entering the labour force. Infant mortality for the country is 40 per 1,000 live births, but for indigenous children it reaches 46 per 1,000 live births and doubles in isolated rural indigenous areas. Maternal mortality is 89 per 100,000 live births nationally, but in predominantly indigenous areas, such as as Alta Verapaz and Huehuetenango, it reaches 192 and 152 per 100,000 live births respectively. Some 2.4 million people, or 20 per cent of the population, are still outside the health system.

The last five years show progress in pre-school enrolment (32.6 per cent for girls and 33.1 per cent  for boys) and primary school (83.62 per cent for girls and 81.07 per cent for boys), but the quality of schooling is deficient and school absenteeism, retention, and drop out rates are extremely high. Five out of 10 students who enter primary school in urban areas complete primary school, as opposed to only two out of 10 in rural areas. Some 60 per cent of the school age population live in rural areas, but only 24.5 per cent of the schools are in the rural areas. Eight municipalities do not have a middle school and only 58 per cent have a secondary school.


 

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