The Textbook Program

“With the books, the class becomes more student-oriented. I’m not the only one who has the benefit of access to materials and information—now [my students] can verify what I say and challenge me.”

—Eladi Chiquin Chaman, science teacher at La Parroquia Middle School




Imagine Learning Without Books

Roughly 90% of middle schools in rural Guatemala don’t have access to textbooks. Without them, students waste most of their learning time copying the teacher’s notes from the blackboard. Not surprisingly, they quickly lose motivation and enthusiasm for school, and drop out. Of every 10 children in Guatemala, only four will make it to middle school, and only two will complete secondary school. This means that a staggering 80% or more of young Guatemalans never graduate from high school.

How the Program Works

Cooperative for Education (CoEd) provides a low-cost, sustainable solution for giving students access to textbooks. Every program participant “rents” a set of books in core subjects like math, science, Spanish language, and social studies for a small monthly fee (about $1.50). These fees are collected into a revolving fund which is used to replace the books as they wear out.

Books are purchased in bulk directly from a large Guatemalan publisher, thus securing the lowest possible price and contributing to the local economy. Teachers also receive training on how to effectively use textbooks in their classrooms.

Textbooks Make the Difference

The Textbook Program has a 27-year successful track record of increasing the amount of material covered in classes, improving the learning experience, and reducing dropout rates by an average of 16%. Studies show that, simply by staying in school, young people in Guatemala can improve their earning potential by as much as 182%. With higher wages, they can escape the hardship that has plagued their families for generations—breaking the cycle of poverty once and for all.

An independent study of the Textbook Program also showed that Textbook Program students score higher on standardized math and reading tests than students at comparison schools.


CoEd designs its programs to thrive and survive into the future. We work cooperatively with parents, teachers, principals, and students to create strategies for educational development in their communities.

Revolving Fund

All student rental fees collected go into a revolving fund managed by CoEd. After five years, enough money has accrued in this fund to begin replacing the books. This means that after CoEd donors make the initial investment to purchase the first set of textbooks, each Textbook Program becomes 100% self-sustaining. And this model isn’t just theoretical: 91% of schools that have had a Textbook Program for more than five years have begun renewing their books with money saved through their revolving funds.

Community Involvement

Once a Textbook Program is up and running, school administrators take over its day-to-day management. And since parents make financial contributions to the program, they have a vested interest in its success. All members of the school community experience the pride, confidence, and dignity that comes from helping themselves.


More Class Time

With textbooks, program teachers have 25% more time to engage their students in questions, discussion, and critical thinking.


Have Renewed Their Books

91% of schools that have been active in the program for more than 5 years have renewed their books at least once through the revolving fund.

Ready to Put Textbooks Back In the Classroom?