Is Latin America Going Through An Educational Crisis?

Is There An Educational Crisis In Latin America? Many Students Argue That They Are Not Learning Anything In Class.

Children in school

Latin America is suffering from various problems at the political level. We see it in the fall in productive activity, inflation and health problems derived from the pandemic. Photo: Pexels

LatinAmerican Post | Ariel Cipolla

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Leer en español: ¿América Latina está atravesando una crisis educacional?

Latin America is suffering from various problems at the political level. We see it in the drop in productive activity, inflation, and health problems derived from the pandemic. However, from the outset, it was known that one link would be greatly weakened: education. According to a UNESCO survey, 70% of students in all school years have suffered various delays in the pandemic school year. According to the report itself, the pandemic caused the closure of several schools and educational centers throughout Latin America, which affected some 166 million students. For this reason, our region may be experiencing an unprecedented educational crisis. Let's see why.

The educational crisis in Latin America

The arrival of the pandemic caused changes in education systems. Quickly, all states had to make efforts to bet on virtual classes. This represented a great challenge, since the poorest regions of Latin America did not have the resources for the digitalization of classes and content.

For example, in Mexico, there are approximately 30 million students. However, it is estimated that 25% of students corresponding to all educational stages (between 7 and 17 years old) do not have access to the Internet.

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In the same way, Argentina has similar figures. The National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INDEC) commented that 32% of the country's households do not have computers. The same is true for Internet access. For example, some provinces have a really low access rate. Among them, Formosa (32%), San Juan (36%) and Santa Cruz (37%) stand out.

This situation means that, from the perspective of the World Bank , many children will not want to return to school. Basically, because a generation of children is being raised with a very wide inequality in access to the minimum content, which means that some have lost months and even years of education.

However, the problem does not lie solely in unequal access. According to the Kumon education company, 7 out of 10 Latin American students who can access classes perceive that the virtual modality generated a reduction in academic level, that is, from the perspective of the assimilation of content.

For example, 98% of preschool-age children need adults to assist them with homework, since the lack of a constant face-to-face classroom creates learning difficulties. In particular, the subject that seems to represent the greatest challenge is mathematics, with 56% of children dissatisfied with this subject.

???? América Latina enfrenta una crisis educativa por #COVID19.

Según @UNICEF, la región sufrió más cierres escolares que cualquier otra parte en el ????.

En ????????, 1.8 millones de niños y jóvenes abandonaron su educación este año debido a la pandemia o por dificultades económicas.

— Lila Abed (@lilaabed) June 26, 2021

Even in those countries that have returned to face-to-face classes, the educational difference has been present. For example, children who were able to take advantage of virtual education feel more prepared than those who suffered from connectivity problems, something that deepened the inequality of school level among the students themselves.

If the situation does not change, a very high percentage of 10-year-olds may be unable to understand simple text . According to the World Bank, the current rate is set at 51%, but in the future it could be almost 63%. This translates into an additional 7.6 million children who will be considered “poor learners”.

The key seems to be that states spare no effort in education. They need to provide public tools and resources for those students who cannot connect to classes, but also perfecting a system that was not ready for this moment. The opportunity for Latin America to overcome this educational crisis will depend on this.

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