Flag of El Salvador


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Many children and adolescents living in El Salvador face enormous vulnerabilities associated with high rates of crime and gang violence, including poor quality education, exclusion from secondary education, early pregnancy and limited employment opportunities. School desertion rates are very high and are impacted by insecurity. Only about 66 percent of youth attend early secondary school (7th-9th grades), and only half of these go on to complete high school. There are over 300,000 youth aged 15 to 24 that neither study nor work. El Salvador has one of the highest homicide rates in the world for youth under the age of 19. The Salvadoran workforce lacks the skills needed in the productive and business sector

Progress in education is essential to El Salvador’s development needs, as a better educated, competitive workforce that will contribute to the country’s economic growth, and reduce illegal immigration. Quality education leads to greater economic growth, improved health outcomes, sustained democratic governance, and more peaceful and resilient societies.

USAID’s education investments support sustainable, quality learning and education outcomes. Youth gain the skills they need to lead productive lives, gain employment, and positively contribute to society. Programs focus on education and workforce development to increase economic productivity in high crime areas, identified under El Salvador’s national security plan.

Workforce development, technical and vocational education, and higher education activities actively engage employers and the private sector to ensure curricula are driven by the local labor market and are relevant to the local economy.  With USAID support, higher education institutions improve their capacity to develop and conduct applied research, deliver quality education, and engage with communities.


USAID education projects help increase access to quality, relevant education for more than 100,000 children and youth in high-crime communities. These programs provide alternatives to crime, violence and gang involvement and expand economic opportunities.  Activities focus particularly on the education needs at the lower secondary level, grades four to nine, when children are most prone to drop-out and are vulnerable to gang recruitment. USAID projects support the Government of El Salvador Ministry of Education, Science and Technology’s implementation of the national education plan, which uses child-centered interactive teaching methodologies, extends the school day with tutoring and extracurricular activities such as sports, music, art and computer training.

USAID programs also support school sponsorship by private-sector partners and local education organizations to help out-of-school youth return to formal classes or earn an equivalent diploma. Several USAID projects provide technical and vocational training to prepare youth for the labor market, and support youth entrepreneur initiatives and the hiring of vulnerable youth. USAID also focuses on improving the quality of higher education institutions, increasing opportunities for students to attend colleges and universities, and providing advanced certification courses for teachers to improve the quality of education in public schools.

USAID assistance:

  • Increases access to quality education and provides after-school programs for youth in high-risk communities
  • Strives to improve school retention and promotion rates at the secondary level by keeping students engaged and extending the school day within a safe learning environment with the help of sponsorship programs
  • Expands out-of-school programs that provide remedial basic education academic skills, equivalent high school diplomas, workforce readiness and vocational training
  • Improves teaching and learning practices and public school infrastructure by identifying, evaluating and  prioritizing the needs of each community
  • Strengthens higher education programs and increases opportunities for disadvantaged youth by establishing partnerships among the Salvadoran Ministry of Education, private sector partners, and higher education institutions in the U.S. and El Salvador
  • Increases workforce development and economic productivity by closing the gap between educational skills and labor market expectations


Education for Children and Youth

Education and Coexistence

Supérate Program

Bridges to Employment