SAT (Sistema de Aprendizage Tutorial)
SAT (Sistema de Aprendizage Tutorial)
The Sistema de Aprendizaje Tutorial (SAT) is an innovative rural education program that provides targeted learning opportunities for rural populations. Its education model provides access to secondary education for rural youth and adults in their own communities while they engage in and/or continue working on their agricultural and livelihood pursuits in the rural areas in which they live.
Forty-one percent of Nicaraguans live in rural communities. In 2001, the net secondary school attendance rate across these communities was 35.6 percent, with 15.1percent of males and 23.6 percent of females attending school. For these rural students, access to secondary education is essentially non-existent. Of the 1.4 million school-aged youth (10 to 19 years old), UNICEF estimates that 50 percent are not matriculated in secondary education, and that only a third of the population graduates from high school.
Rural communities bear the brunt of the nation’s poverty, housing 63 percent of the poor and 78 percent of the extreme poor, 25 percent of whom survive on less than one dollar per day. Since rural students are left with few options for advancement, they often move to larger cities or migrate to find work. Between 2002 and 2007, half a million Nicaraguans aged 18 to 30 left the country to seek employment.
The education issues in rural regions are: irrelevant rural secondary curriculum; lack of access to secondary education in isolated rural communities; the need for a curriculum that blends theory and practice to enhance rural community development and rural livelihoods.
Education and opportunities for employment in rural areas can help combat migration to larger cities and other countries. Additionally, qualified individuals can then help improve the quality of life in isolated rural communities with the relevant skills.
The SAT project model is based on a non-formal education program which utilizes a "learn by doing" methodology to promote rural education and community development in marginalized communities. It integrates relevant theory and practice, based on each community’s land resources and economic potential. For example, students learn mathematics and science in the context of growing their own vegetables and creating a cooperative to sell their produce. Thus, students develop a multitude of capacities and skills that will help them to contribute to their family’s income.
The SAT program is designed to provide quality secondary education to remote rural communities that have little or no access to public secondary programs. SAT’s curriculum particularly emphasizes community development, entrepreneurship, and sustainable agricultural practices.
In 2007, Fabretto introduced SAT to 25 remote Nicaraguan communities. Today this effort has expanded to over 40 communities and has effectively brought high-school instruction to young people who otherwise had little chance of attending secondary school. The program, which is fully recognized and accredited by Nicaragua‘s Ministry of Education, helps students advance to become productive adults or pursue college studies.
For the next five years, Fabretto hopes to adapt the SAT curriculum contextually to better fit the needs of rural Nicaraguan communities, working alongside FUNDAEC and BAYAN to ensure that changes are in line with the program's objectives. In addition, Fabretto hopes to send more staff to training sessions led by BAYAN so that Fabretto staff can train incoming tutors themselves, instead of relying on support from Colombia. Currently, next steps for the project include connecting SAT student cooperatives to markets, thereby focusing more on larger program sustainability and students’ economic development ventures.
Fabretto is currently working with organizations such as Burke Agro and the McIlhenny Company to link SAT student cooperatives to markets. Fabretto is also working on collaborating with the 5 de Junio coffee cooperative in Las Sabanas on an initiative to involve more SAT students in the coffee cooperative. Additionally, the organization just received funding from the Tinker Foundation to make contextual adaptations to the SAT curriculum over the next two years, with collaboration from FUNDAEC, BAYAN, and the University of Pennsylvania. These changes will provide the necessary modules in entrepreneurial skills, so that students possess more business acumen upon graduation.