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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. May 31, 2022: Unfinished learning refers to learners not completing their education during the pandemic. For example, in the U.S., primary and secondary students are behind in reading and mathematics by a couple of months compared to a conventional year. On the other hand, the Latin American and Caribbean region has an unprecedented educational crisis because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Latin American Countries Accounted for 25% of Nations Having the Highest Number of COVID Deaths.

Six Latin American countries belong to the list of 24 nations with the highest deaths per 1,000,000 inhabitants. They have to close their educational systems longer than the others. Despite school closures, many countries ensured continuing education after the first few weeks at the start of the pandemic. However, educational quality and adequate participation were elusive despite efforts to reach educators, families, and students.

The World Bank Analyzed the Possibility of an Educational Tragedy in the Latin American and Caribbean Region

World Bank confirms the significance of protecting the children’s future in the region. Many countries turned to technology to mitigate or prevent educational tragedies. Some used traditional media and the internet to support teachers and parents for more inclusive education. However, in Latin America and the Caribbean, many students don’t have the internet at home. 

Many countries use old programs to meet the challenge in the educational system. For instance, Mexico used the “Learn at Home” program to reach 25 million learners during school closures because of the pandemic. In addition, Uruguay had a comprehensive online learning program that installed internet connectivity to 85% of homes before the pandemic.

Not All Latin American and Caribbean Countries Have Internet Connectivity

However, connectivity is an issue for low-income students. Only 45% have internet access in their homes, and the percentage varies per country:

  • Peru – 14%
  • Panama – 24%
  • Mexico – 19%
  • Colombia – 25%

Thus, the countries in the region use printed materials, digital platforms, radio, and television to continue educating the students. However, the World Bank disagrees that distance education should replace face-to-face education because it’s unsuitable for teaching skills.

Unfinished Learning in the Latin American and Caribbean Region

Initial estimates show that learning poverty in the region can increase by at least 20%, which means that one in three elementary school learners cannot read at their required age level. Moreover, school dropouts can increase by 15%, and learning poverty by 10%. The 10-month closure discovered that a student could lose around $1,313 yearly.

Learning poverty causes learners to have stunted fundamental skills necessary for their future. It accounts for about 88% of what they should know in a school year. In Chile, World Bank instituted many mitigation factors and concluded the same percentage could be the experience in a school year.

The most affected are the less privileged students because of their family or economic problems, low participation in online classes, and lack of access to distance education. The wealthiest learners have access to an assignment writing service but will still suffer a 30% learning loss, while the poorest can lose 41%. Disadvantaged young Chileans can suffer 95% of learning loss, while the riches can lose 64%. 

The World Bank Calls for Action

The World Bank says the pandemic’s effects affect students’ lives, and learning metrics quantify the impact. However, acting on the issue is essential to avoid further deterioration.

Here are six ways to recreate education in the region:

  1. Engage the children and youth as social mobilization agents, thought leaders, and advocates helping drive change on a larger scale.
  2. Collaborate to mobilize educational investments and commitments in complementary strategies, such as prioritizing the marginalized sector and promoting inclusivity in digital education.
  3. Generate content and learning experiences by engaging the youth and the private sector.
  4. Connect the students to the internet for them to learn anytime and anywhere, ensuring the marginalized learners have access to devices as well.
  5. Increase development assistance to low-income and middle-income countries to support primary education.
  6. Share advocacy solutions, policy, and knowledge to reach children and inspire others to do the same.

Final Thoughts

The COVID pandemic ruined the educational systems around the world. Unfortunately, the countries in the Latin American and Caribbean regions are the most affected. The analysis of the World Bank is on point, and it’s but fitting to solve the issue to prevent an educational crisis.

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