Remarks by Ambassador William H. Duncan at the launch of the USAID Education Innovation Project

February 28, 2023

* This is a courtesy translation. Only the original Spanish version should be considered authoritative.

My father was a school teacher. He taught sports and math classes at the public school that I also attended. It was a school in a low-income neighborhood and it was common to see young people lose interest in school and get into trouble, sometimes even with the law. Several had difficulties at home as well. For many of these students, being young was very, very difficult.

My father had the almost religious belief that the solution to all these problems was the school.

My father was a very serious person and sometimes very strict. But he always told his students that if they needed help with math, he was going to stay longer after class to help them, no matter how much time they needed. My father would spend hours after school giving individual lessons until the student understood the material. But more than that, my father gave them the attention that young people so much need.

He spent breaks playing basketball with the students. He knew their names, he knew what they thought, what they suffered, what they longed for, and the students knew that he would listen to them, in what they scored.

I know firsthand the impact a teacher can have on the lives of their students because I lived it. I saw how the attention, the patience, the commitment, affected the students, and I know that many students in my school felt less alone because of the effort that my father made.

We recognize that the role of a teacher is incredibly important in the formation of their students in every way and we are proud to support them in this mission. The future that all Salvadorans want for their country begins to be built here. A prosperous future with economic opportunities requires an educated and trained workforce. A secure future without crime and gangs depends on the alternatives offered to young people.

I thank all the teachers and parents who are with us today for their commitment and dedication to the new generation. And I am happy to launch with you the Educational Innovation Project that will benefit hundreds of schools like this one by improving the teaching skills of teachers, focusing on reading, mathematics and psychosocial well-being. Let’s continue working together so that this generation, and those to come, can make their dreams and goals come true here in El Salvador. 

Thank you so much.