Innovative education leader visits campus

Jorge Chojolan visits Western as part of his North American speaking tour, in partnership with Librarians Without Borders, at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14 in the Faculty of Education, room 1010. Chojolan is the founder and director of the Asturias Academic, a progressive K-12 school offering education for students from low-income and indigenous families.

An overextended and underfunded school system has failed to meet the educational needs of Guatemalans, especially the indigenous population, which has a 65 per cent rate of illiteracy. Chojolan has spent his life committed to improving access to education for low-income and indigenous families in Guatemala and has created an alternative school system designed to spur improvements in education throughout the country.

Since 2009, Librarians Without Borders has worked with Chojolan and the Asturias Academy to promote literacy and libraries in Guatemala. Through many hours of fundraising, planning and hard work, Asturias was able to open a community library to students and their families in January 2011.

This past spring, Western Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) students Shannon Marrinan and Monica Gagne were on the ground in Guatemala joining Librarians Without Borders volunteers from across Canada at the Miguel Angel Asturias Academy Library in Quetzaltenango. Revisit their story from the Western News.