Although access to primary education in Guatemala has increased in recent years, particularly in rural areas, rates of primary-school completion and literacy for young people remain among the lowest in Latin America, and problems such as late entry, grade repetition, and early dropout persist. Adult literacy is estimated to be 85 percent in Latin America as a whole, compared with 70 percent in Guatemala. Although indigenous peoples in Latin America generally have less schooling than nonindigenous peoples, ethnic differences are greatest in Guatemala, where indigenous (Mayan) adults have less than half the level of schooling of nonindigenous (Ladino) adults. Recent trends show that the ethnic gap is narrowing among young people, but large inequalities remain. Mayan females are the most disadvantaged group by far, and just two-thirds of 10–19-year-old Mayan females are literate. Promoting Healthy, Safe, and Productive Transitions to Adulthood Brief No. 16 reports on Mayan girls’ school enrollment, grade progression, and educational attainment, along with policies for attracting and keeping Mayan girls in school.
Hallman, Kelly, Sara Peracca, Jennifer Catino, and Marta Julia Ruiz. 2007. "Assessing the multiple disadvantages of Mayan girls: The effects of gender, ethnicity, poverty, and residence on education in Guatemala," Promoting Healthy, Safe, and Productive Transitions to Adulthood Brief no. 16. New York: Population Council.