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In Latin America, secondary school drop-out rates are high, partly because many youth feel that the type of education they receive at school does not offer any guarantee of future employment. Recognizing the need for practical training that gives youth the skills to find employment or become self-employed, Fundación Paraguaya established the Self-Sufficient School model, providing low-income youth with opportunities to ‘learn by doing, while earning and saving’. Under this model, the schools offer the officially recognized secondary school curriculum as well as training in practical skills such as growing vegetables, raising livestock and crafting furniture. The Self-Sufficient Schools go beyond the type of training provided by conventional vocational training programmes by offering real-life marketplace contexts that enable students to come into contact with real customers. In such schools, students learn the skills, knowledge and attitudes to become entrepreneurs and they also apply what they learn in a real-life context, where they produce marketable goods and services. The income generated goes towards school operating costs, thus enabling the schools to become self-sustaining.
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