Latin America is facing an educational crisis, as it suffers from the longest school closures of any region in the world, according to UNICEF, with a period of nearly 16 months in some regions, while many students in wealthy countries have returned to the classroom, there are still 100 million children in Latin America who are fully or partly learning remotely.
Commenting on this, education officials and experts there say the consequences are worrying, and with economies in the region deteriorating due to the pandemic and the desire to attend classes eroded poorly, children are dropping out in primary and secondary schools in droves, sometimes motivated to work where they can, the World Bank estimates.
Millions of children in Latin America may have already left the school system. According to the National Statistics Agency, in Mexico, 1.8 million children and young people have abandoned their education this school year due to the pandemic or the economic hardship it has caused.
Ecuador has lost an estimated 90,000 students in primary and secondary schools, and Peru reports that it has lost attendance of nearly 170,000 students.. Officials fear that the real rates may be much higher because countless children are not attending school. They are still technically registered within their schools but have not attended.
UNICEF says that more than five million children in Brazil did not have access to education during the pandemic, a level the world has not seen in more than 20 years.
The increasing access to education in the last half-century in Latin American countries was one of the most valuable achieved there; The enrollment rate of girls, poor students, and members of ethnic and racial minorities has risen, raising many into the middle class. However, the numbers of dropouts now threaten to undo years of hard-earned progress, which in turn will increase inequality with what may Reshaping the region for decades to come.
According to a recent analysis, the region, which is home to less than 10 percent of the world’s population, accounts for nearly a third of all recorded Covid deaths in the world.
And with vaccination rates falling in many of its countries, partly because rich countries get vaccines for their citizens first, the virus continues to ravage the region.
Since the beginning of the epidemic, Latin America has suffered from some of the worst outbreaks of the disease in the world, yet many of its countries are now witnessing the highest daily death toll due to the crisis, even after more than a year of continuous losses. For some governments, there is little sign of an end in sight to the crisis.
But unless the closures end and students return to the classroom soon, the World Bank has warned that “many children may never return.” and “those who go back to school will have lost months or even years of education.” Some analysts also fear that the region may face a generation of lost children, similar to places that have suffered years of war.