Social Panorama of Latin America 2001-2002

image of Social Panorama of Latin America 2001-2002

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.



School drop-out: A proposal for analysing the educational situation of latin american adolescents

Rather than shortcomings in coverage or access to education, the problem of the educational systems of the region is their insufficient capacity to keep children and adolescents in school. It would be a mistake to think that the trend towards universal basic education in the Latin American countries –reflected in high gross and net rates of primary school enrolment– means that the great majority of boys and girls actually complete this cycle and that the lags in educational matters are due mainly to the low quality of the content of the education and its inappropriateness to the needs of the world of work. Although these problems are indeed serious and are present in all the countries of the region, they are additional to the more fundamental problem of the insufficient capacity to keep children and adolescents in school, especially during the primary cycle and the transition to the secondary cycle and also, in many cases, in the first two grades of primary school. The clearest reflection of this problem is the high rates of school drop-out recorded in the great majority of the countries, which result in a small number of years of schooling completed: far below the full cycle of secondary education which is considered to be the minimum educational capital needed to obtain urban jobs that will give a high possibility of keeping the worker in question out of poverty. This is why it is important to have a regional picture of the magnitude and tendencies of school drop-out and of some of the main factors associated with the capacity of families and educational systems to keep children and adolescents in school until they have completed the secondary cycle.


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