Affordable Non-State Schools In El Salvador
El Salvador is affected by widespread gang activity, which affects most facets of daily life, including education, for many of the country's citizens. Government schools are seen by many as unsafe, and many households turn to private schools to provide education for their children. Currently, one in every five students enrolled in basic education attends a non-state school, which are primarily concentrated in urban, violence-affected areas. However, because Salvadorian non-state schools have never been the subject of academic study, little has been known about who attends these schools and why, as well as how non-state schools interact with gangs.
This case study, performed by Results for Development (R4D) with support from USAID Education in Conflict and Crisis Network (ECCN), examines the role of affordable non-state schools (ANSS) in El Salvador, with a focus on basic education. El Salvador was selected for in-depth study by USAID because experiences from the country can be compared with those of other countries with high levels of crime, decentralized violence, and erosion of state control. This study represents the first examination of non-state schools in El Salvador and contains valuable lessons for the region regarding the drivers of school choice in contexts of violence. This case study explores (1) the context of conflict and crisis in El Salvador; (2) the modalities of non- state education provision targeting lower-income populations; and (3) the capacity of these non-state schools to provide quality, accessible, affordable, and sustainable education to low-income groups. Findings from the study informed the formulation of recommendations for donor and government engagement with non-state schools in El Salvador.