Social Panorama of Latin America 2001-2002

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This publication explores issues related to the Millennium Development Targets and discusses whether Latin American countries may achieve the objectives unanimously adopted by members states of the United Nations for 2015.The book examines the region's ability to meet the targets for reducing extreme poverty and ensuring universal access to primary education under conditions of gender equality. Moreover, it looks at Latin American countries' potential to absorb the growing supply of skilled human resources and deals with the issue of social capital in terms of its potential and the limitations of poverty reduction programmes. Numerous tables, figures, and boxes are included to help illustrate data.



Determinants, associated factors and circumstances which favour school drop-out

Although an inadequate socio–economic situation in the households where young people live tends to increase school drop-out significantly, it is not in itself a risk factor, but rather the result of other factors more directly related with education achievement, such as low educational level of the mother, absence of one or both of the parents from the household, and the need for early entry into the labour market. Among these factors, low educational level of the mother is the element which most affects school drop-out, especially in urban areas: among young people between 15 and 19, the global drop-out rate is almost trebled when the mother has a low level of education (41% compared with 15%), and the risk of dropping out at an early stage in the educational cycle increases fivefold (15% compared with 3%). On the other hand, among the reasons adduced by young people for dropping out, over 70% say they did so because of economic difficulties or because they found work or were seeking it (Bolivia, Nicaragua, Paraguay and El Salvador), while in Chile, Peru and Venezuela the same reasons were given by over half of those interviewed. Among girls, economic factors are very important too, but they also very often mention housework and pregnancy and motherhood. As might be expected, difficulty in reaching the school is given relatively frequently as the reason for dropping out only in rural areas.


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