Is education the most relevant solution for socioeconomic inequality in Latin America?
Socio-economic inequality in Latin America is known to be a constant issue that affects a large percentage of the continent. This is the result of several discrepancies present in these countries, factors like poverty and monetary issues are the most common. Nevertheless, the development of developing countries and third world countries has varied tremendously since the embracement and support of education in the continent. In order to analyze the question above presented is important to understand the relationship between education and socioeconomic inequality. With education being the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at school or university, and socioeconomic inequality being defined as the gap present between the rich and the poor, caused by Socio Economic Status (SES).
It is of great importance to understand exactly what, who and how does socioeconomic inequality affects the population. This due to the fact, that socioeconomic inequality is sometimes mistaken for poverty, and even though it is greatly associated with poverty and income, this is not the only issue when analyzing the matter. Actually, the main factor affecting this issue, is SES (socio economic status) since this includes not just income, but financial security, and subjective social concepts and ideas of social status and social class. Meaning that in order to solve the problem there are many factors that most be considered, all of them being significantly varied by one factor, which is education, a factor which still has a lot to improve in the Latin American region, this considering that most countries in the region are not considered first world countries, but third world countries and developing countries. This cause many countries to not be able to provide education with the same quality for all the population, but only to the ones with high incomes and high SES. This creates as a result other issues such as, teachers who are not well prepare to impart knowledge due to the fact, that these individuals themselves where not able to access a proper education when they needed to. Some statistics linked to the topic, show the severe impact this issue has had on the region, for example: Many countries in Latin America, are nearly 30% more unequal than the global average (Lustig, IMF, 2015). Some 74 million Latin Americans (about 12.4% of the region’s population) live on less than $2 per day, from which more the half of them are children. One in five youth aged 15–24 in Latin America is out-of-school and not working, a phenomenon referred to as “Ninis” short for “ni estudian ni trabajan” which is translated to “nor study, nor work”. Even though the number of minis decreased around the 90’s more, this number has increased to more than 18 million people in the region. All these number show that changes must be done in order to successfully reduce the number of school dropouts and unemployed percentage to ensure the improvement of life quality standards globally. Only in Panama, a small country located in Central America, with a population of approximately 3 million people, the number of Ninis has increased from 218, 532 in 2016 to 242,621 which is about 25% of the youth around the ages of 15 to 29 years old. This numbers being similar to those of Ecuador, Nicaragua and el Salvador. And with Brazil, Colombia and Mexico at the top of the list with the highest numbers of ninis..
Considering the above mentioned, it can be seen the influence socio economic status has on this issue. The pattern can be easily explained. First, people are born in low income families, this in many cases due to the fact that the people involved do not have the abilities or capacities to access a quality education, and therefore cannot have a god job. This followed by them having children which grow in the same conditions embracing poverty patterns which are extremely difficult to break. Socio Economic Inequities have shown that children with low- SES have been prove to have a slower development, than children in high-SES. This mean that a children cognitive development can be severely affected, resulting in low income, health and socio emotional processing in adulthood. It most be noted that in many cases the access to education is given, but not in the appropriate manner, this could result in a different quality in the education systems provided in low income regions.
Therefore, Students academic progress is negatively affected, causing the dropout rate to increase, perpetuating the low-SES in these regions. Some repercussions, begin even before the educational process starts, phonology awareness, vocabulary and oral language are extreme affected. Additionally, abilities like reading and writing are not successfully development due to poor literacy access in their household, This highlighting the fact that a human brain is approximately 85% developed in the first 5 years of life, which means that children that come from low-SES are affected even before they star to go to school, because in the vast majority of cases their parents did not have the education they needed, and therefore they cannot pass knowledge that they never acquired to their kids. Due to the issues above mentioned, several countries have compromised to improve the educational system. First, Mexico has been one of the first to increased the education investment, since these had been seen as poor and deficient throughout the years. Additionally, teacher’s training has become a more relevant factor, which has caused countries to increase their standard and preparing process in order to provide students with a good quality education. This among other factors, will be the guide to support the argumentative line behind this essay, in order to evaluate the relevance of education in Latin America. Which will analyze and respond several doubts towards the relevance of education not only in Latin America both in society as a whole.
First, by improving the level of educations the general economy of the country will rise. Education and economic growth have a extremely important relationship, since as more individuals are all prepared, the better chances they are of them working in and industrialized job since they will have the abilities to do it. But if the education is not good the supply of labour will be higher than the demand of labor, when the supply of labour is higher than the demand of labour several repercussions take place; first the wage rate will be harm because if workers do not have the abilities they need for a certain job, then they will not have the best wage they could earn, this can be referred to wage rates being depressed. And in cases where training in industrialized markets is given it is very expensive for companies, which in many case will pay this expenses by making big discounts to workers’ wages. But if education imparted by countries is improved, new firms will establish in these countries, causing several government objectives such as economic growth, balance of payments, and an increased in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will be achieved. A great example would be Canada, that according to The Conference Board of Canada “The economic impacts alone are significant; over $40 billion in direct spending flows through Canada’s colleges and universities each year, which generates up to $77 billion in indirect economic activity, after multiplier effects.” This shows the great influence that educations has on the economy itself, with one of the top ranked education systems around the world.
Also, poverty patterns will be reduced and people will be able to improve their life quality standards. As explained before poverty patterns are one of the main concerns when referring to so economic inequality. According to the OECD’s Teacher and Learning International Survey, on average globally, 55% of teachers want more professional development opportunities (TALIS, 2013). But, if countries start to give more and better preparation to teachers, teachers would be able to pass this knowledge to the students and with better prepared students the probabilities of them continuing education by going to college or simply having a better job increases tremendously. This will eventually be presented in better opportunities of post-secondary education, better jobs, and a crucial point which is the social inclusion will cause this bridge between the rich and the poor to be reduced, as part of the development of a better society, with the target of becoming developed countries. It is extremely important to stand out the the countries with the best education are the best developed ones. Taking for example, Finland whose education system is the best one around the world, and also Japan, whose education system has reached to maximize the potential of education in their country.
Considering all the above presented, it can be seen how education is actually the most relevant solution for socioeconomic inequality in Latin America. This essay has presented several problems such as poverty patters, lack of access to a better education, nevertheless it has also presented server solutions to the problems and it has proved with evidence the important and positive repercussions that can be seen when solving this problematic. It is key to understand the even though solutions are aimed to solve socioeconomic inequality, they might not be applied equally but, equity meaning according to each individuals’ need.