24 de Marzo de 2019
Portal Educativo de las Américas
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La Educación
Número: (132-133) I,II
Año: 1999


As we begin this century, education is the great hope for progress and social mobility in the countries. Important advances in this vital area have been made in the region, but the fact that it is Latin America-the most unequal continent on the planet-implies a sort of backwards impact on the educational systems. This article will discuss some of that impact by examining the silent mechanisms of inequality that influence the high drop-out and repetition rates, as well as the quality of education received by the vast majority of the population. It also examines various national case studies and demonstrates how a perverse cycle exists in which the educational systems reinforce other inequalities. The article offers working guidelines for overcoming this fundamental problem. It goes on to point out that in societies such as Latin America, where roughly half of the population lives under the poverty line and where profound social polarizations exist, education can be a vigorous force for progress and social change, and how, on the other hand, if strong inequalities persist, education can promote the severe social exclusions in existence. The answer to what should be education’s role will depend on the policies that are adopted.