Peru’s primary and secondary school enrollment is quite high, but educational quality and the disparity between urban and rural children’s access to schools still pose a significant problem. Peru’s educational challenges include:
- High enrollment, low quality: Peru’s educational system quality ranked 133rd out of 134 countries. For the quality of its math and science education, it ranked 133rd out of 134, ahead only of East Timor (World Economic Forum).
- Low government spending on education: Peru spends less than three percent of its GDP on education (USAID).
- Uneducated teachers: In 2007, Peru's first national evaluation of teachers revealed that only 50% of the 180,000 teachers tested could solve simple math problems and only 1.5% could solve complex problems (Expreso, El Comercio and La República).
Nuestra Señora del Encuentro (Lumen Dei)
Location: Outskirts of Lima
Number of Students: 730
Nuestra Señora del Encuentro is located in an extremely poor neighborhood where many homes lack running water. Currently, it offers preschool through 11th grade education and has sports areas, a computer lab and a cafeteria which also serves members of the broader community. The experienced teachers commute long distances from affluent areas. Some of these children also travel long distances from rural areas around Lima.
Worldfund funded the construction of four classrooms for the secondary school at Nuestra Señora del Encuentro. It also provided funding for repairs to the school's walls and ceilings after the August 2007 earthquake.
San José Obrero de Huancaro (Lumen Dei)
Number of Students: 1,067
San José Obrero of Huancaro serves a very poor Quechua community. The neighborhood shows signs that the presence of the school has been a positive influence on its development. Additionally, the most needy of this indigenous community also benefit from the school's cafeteria which serves meals to families.
The students from low-income families receive a preschool through high school education in modest buildings which include a computer lab and a shop room for technical training. The school also has an area for athletics and after-school activities. Worldfund has provided funds for scholarships and teachers' salaries.
Union Lumen Dei manages a network of schools and job-training centers for poor communities in Latin America. It was founded in 1968 in Cuzco, Peru by Fr. Rodrigo Molina and a group of local residents and Spanish volunteers to help extremely impoverished Quechua communities. The schools foster the development of students in Cuzco and Lima by providing nutritional and health services in addition to high-quality education. The staff and volunteers also engage families in the education of the children and promote the improvement of the surrounding communities.
A large portion of Worldfund's support of the Lumen Dei schools has been made possible by The Douglas B. Marshall, Jr. Family Foundation.