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GRADUATE XXI names Chilean winner of competition to fight school dropout crisis

“Supérate” (‘Out do Yourself’), a pilot project conceived by the Chilean Cristián Alberto González Verasay, has won an international competition held by GRADUATE XXI, which aims to get young people who have dropped out of school to resume their studies. GRADUATE XXI is an initiative of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) that works to keep secondary education students in Latin America from dropping out of school.

The idea being honored advances a model based on González’s successful work with students who left school in his hometown of Copiapó. The pilot project began with 50 students and was implemented by an organization called the Copiapó Educational Innovation Initiative in Atacama, Chile.

“First, we examined the concerns, skills, motivations and difficulties faced by each student,” said González, who presented to GRADUATE XXI a personalized mentoring project based on four factors:

  • Build upon skills: to develop students’ self-esteem and get them to participate in artistic and sports-related activities.
  • Level the academic playing field: so that students who have fallen behind rejoin the regular school system. González said that many youths in his town are 15 and have not yet finished elementary school.
  • Work with the family: families help get kids back into school, so it is important to strengthen the link between the school and the family.
  • Professional training: teachers receive support through continual assistance from professionals including psychologists, social workers and education experts who guide the student back into the school system.

“We are convinced that it is urgent to create informal education organizations, or ones that work non-stop with the formal education system, to provide timely support for thousands of students who are having trouble staying in school,” said González.

Information about GRADUATE XXI and the eighth short film

Access to education in Latin America has improved considerably in recent years, but nearly 50 million youth in the region drop out before graduating from high school. GRADUATE XXI works to get the citizens of Latin America involved in improving their education system and increasing the number of young people who make it to graduation. To achieve this, GRADUATE XXI has an active campaign on social media including Twitter and Facebook.

The current GRADUATE XXI competition received help from the well-known Uruguayan film director Pablo Stoll. In the short film “Más o Menos” (“More or Less”) that he shot for GRADUATE XXI in Montevideo, Stoll reflects on the future that awaits youth who drop out of high school and what happens to them when they want to get back into school.

Inter-American Development Bank

The IDB is the main source of multilateral financing and experience for the achievement of sustainable economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The IDB’s Education Division does research, provides technical assistance and finances projects so as to improve the region’s infrastructure, curriculum and education policies.

This initiative was made possible by the generous support of the Korea Poverty Reduction Fund.

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