Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Publication Date



In Guatemala, the Ministry of Education (MoE) is overburdened with challenges;these include the most basic provision of services and support for public schools across the country. In the absence of a capable state presence, countless nongovernmental organizations (NGO) have sprung up to provide, sustain and/or take over basic education services. These NGOs come in all shapes and sizes, with different motivations, from different countries and receiving funding from a variety of national and international sources. The combination of rapidly increasing numbers of NGOs along with minimal state coordination means that the Ministry is unaware of the number of NGOs operating in the education sector, much less what they are doing, where they are and the capabilities that they bring to the sector. Recent estimates place the number of NGOs in Guatemala upwards of 10,000 with no definitive number to be determined in the near future.

The National Program for Self-Managed Schools for Educational Development (PRONADE) from 1994 – 2007 was the first large-scale initiative to include NGOs in the provision of public education. The participating NGOs delivered technical services such as pedagogical training and financial reporting. However, more recently, there have been an increase in smaller foreign and national NGOs that are interacting with the education sector in new ways. This study interviews six of these smaller NGOs along with four different policymakers working at the national level to inquire about their views on NGOs working in the education sector.

This study finds that the participant NGOs are involved in a complex set of interactions with the formal education sector primarily at the local level. This includes active and dependent partnerships at the local and ministerial levels and the supplementation and replacement of public services. Despite all of this NGO activity,there is a dearth of information on NGOs working in the formal education sector in Guatemala. And finally, both policymakers and NGOs expressed their interest in future NGO-MoE partnerships although each envisions such partnerships differently.