Improving Education in Latin America

Leveraging education as a pathway out of poverty traps

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Thought piece
Susana Montes
June 12, 2015

In Latin America, like in many of the world’s emerging and growing economies, access to equalizing factors such as education, financial inclusion, employment, and legal infrastructure is patchy and biased towards demographics that are already wealthy or live within easy access to established infrastructure. This creates a “trap” for populations living in distributed communities, or the urban poor, who are not adequately served by the country’s infrastructure.

In the education sector, high quality education that enables access to employment and greater participation in economic activity is largely limited to those who have access to brick-and- mortar infrastructure. There is a need to develop platforms that can extend educational, entrepreneurial, employment opportunities, and transparency to those who might not have equal access to high-quality options.

Education can be contextualized in many ways. On one hand, it gives access to new opportunities, and on another, it gives a person an ability to act and make decisions in leveraged ways. The way education is delivered, however, often overlooks the type of thinking, capabilities, and opportunities that really need to be created in the context of people’s lives, particularly for those who might not be able to afford to take years out of their lives to get educated.

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