The Ministry of Education (MOE/ MINED) has reported that the Salvadoran education system is struggling. MINED reports that the national average of the Middle School Learning and Aptitude Test (PAES) is the lowest it has been since the test was implemented in 1997. The highest average was 6.4 in 1998, but it has steadily declined in recent years to 5.43 in 2009, 5.14 in 2010 and to a staggering low of 4.85 this year. Experts believe this significant decline is due to "the incomplete development of the curriculum because of the breaks between the school year due to strikes magisterial and 10-day suspension of classes by the rains of Tropical Depression 12-E" (La Prensa Grafica). In addition to this, experts believe that gang violence has begun to have a significant impact on the decline in scores as well. As of yesterday, MINED reported that 126 students have been killed 119 of which were secondary (middle school) students. This number is drastically higher than last year when MINED reported a total of 52 students killed, and there are still two months left in the year!
The Minster of Education has acknowledged these disturbing statistics and has declared that it is "Our duty is to make an assessment and appropriate corrections that will improve. We will discuss with teachers what are the basic contents for the capabilities and competencies that young people should at the end of its average level." In addition to this, he has also mentioned the need to increase the amount of 'alternatives to violence programs' available to youth throughout El Salvador.