Skip to main content
IDB and World Bank: No Time to Waste to Address Learning Crisis in Latin America and the Caribbean

-Three in four 15-year-olds in Latin American countries are unable to demonstrate foundational math skills; more than one in two cannot demonstrate reading skills. 

-This sends a loud alarm signal on the future employment prospects of a large number of young people across the region and subsequent effects for inclusion and development. 

-A new joint report by the IDB and the World Bank outlines critical challenges and educational priorities for the region to address this crisis. 

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Bank are calling on policymakers, stakeholders, and communities across Latin America and the Caribbean to take immediate action to overcome one of the region's greatest education crises in the last 100 years, to ensure sustainable growth and the youth’s future. 

In a new joint report, “Learning Can’t Wait: Lessons for Latin America and the Caribbean from PISA 2022,” the institutions discuss how to address this crisis. They advocate for increased and more efficient investments to accelerate learning results, close socioeconomic and technological gaps in education systems, and ensure that youth is adequately prepared for the jobs of today and tomorrow.  

The results of PISA 2022, the OECD's Program for International Student Assessment, demonstrated the depth of the learning crisis for adolescents in the region. The assessment, which had record participation from LAC countries, showed that three out of four 15-year-olds in the region are unable to demonstrate foundational math skills, and one in two are not able to do so for reading. Learning trends are not moving in the right direction for most countries.   

To reverse this scenario, the report outlines three urgent policy priorities for the region:   

 -Help youth recover from COVID-19 learning losses and accelerate their learning trajectory in foundational reading and math skills. This includes interventions like teaching at the right level, tutoring, and using educational digital and technology solutions.  

 -Support disadvantaged students with targeted interventions. This includes tackling dropout rates by using early warning systems to identify at-risk students and supporting them with tailored initiatives to ensure they stay enrolled in school. 

 -Close the gaps in access to devices and digital resources, and train teachers to integrate technology effectively in learning activities, enabling all students to benefit from digitalization. 

“The world is moving at a great speed and there is no time to waste. We must help every student build the skills they need to thrive,” said Jaime Saavedra, the World Bank’s human development director for Latin America and the Caribbean. “The best teachers, effective teaching methods, and an integration of technology into the teaching process are key to ensure that the children and youth of the region are on successful learning trajectories.”  

“While increased investments in education are crucial, we also have margin for improving what we achieve with the resources we already have,” said Mercedes Mateo, the IDB’s chief of education. “Student performance in math is below what current investment levels predict across the region. We need to invest more but also achieve more with each dollar spent, and target interventions to reach the most disadvantaged students. If these persistent learning gaps are not rapidly addressed, youth will lack the skills needed to succeed in a rapidly changing labor market,” she added.  

This new joint report is part of the ongoing collaboration between the IDB and the World Bank to close the digital gap in education in Latin America and the Caribbean, ensuring young people have the skills needed for tomorrow’s economy. The two institutions are coordinating actions to maximize the impact of already-approved programs, which represent investments of $512 million, which will benefit 3.5 million students in 16 countries. In addition, they are exploring other initiatives to significantly expand the scale and mobilize more capital in the coming years to support this digital education agenda.   

Join the presentation of the report on Wednesday, March 6, at 12:30 p.m. ET. Watch live here.  

Read the complete report here

About the IDB 

The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social, and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance, and training to public- and private-sector clients throughout the region. Take our virtual tour. 

About the World Bank 

The World Bank Group plays a key role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. It consists of five institutions: the World Bank, including the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA); the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Working together in more than 100 countries, these institutions provide financing, advice, and other solutions that enable countries to address the most urgent challenges of development. For more information, please visit www.worldbank.org

Contacts

Planes,Maria Soledad

Planes,Maria Soledad
External Contacts

Yuri Szabo Yamashita

Yuri Szabo Yamashita
You may also like

IDB and World Bank to Boost Digital Transformation in Education in Latin America and the Caribbean

The IDB and the World Bank are coordinating activities to connect 3.5 million students and train more than 265,000 teachers in digital skills. 

Read more

Learning Can’t Wait: Lessons for Latin America and the Caribbean from PISA 2022

This report explores the results of the latest round of PISA for countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), showcasing the results for the region, the differences within the region and between the region and the rest of the world. 

Read more
Jump back to top