Argentina is one of the largest economies in South America. In recent years, the government has focused in promoting economic development along with social inclusion with the support of the World Bank.
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New report dissects central role of teachers in raising student learningLIMA, July 24, 2014—Every week, public school students in Latin America and the Caribbean are deprived of the equivalent of one ... Show More +full day of class, according to a new World Bank report. The source: the low teacher effectiveness.Based on unprecedented research involving the observation of more than 15,000 classrooms in 3,000 primary and secondary schools in seven Latin American countries, the report, Great Teachers: How to Raise Student Learning in Latin America and the Caribbean, describes how teacher absenteeism, poor preparation, low skill level and pay, as well as weak school leadership, all serve to cheat students. The report is a powerful contribution to the growing body of research on how to improve the quality of instruction and learning results.The report comes as experts mull over just how Latin America will maintain levels of growth that made recent poverty and inequality reduction possible. Innovation, competitiveness, government reform, and education are typically cited as the requisite economic engines for further prosperity. Yet on the OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) test in 2012, the 8 participating LAC countries were at the bottom of the scale for middle-income countries -- although a few countries, such as Chile, Brazil and Peru have made important gains from previous years.The report was launched on Thursday at the Regional Education Solutions Forum, held at the Catholic University in Lima and with the participation of Peru's First Lady, Nadine Heredia.In her speech, the First Lady noted that "in the case of Peru, we need to find a way to make our growth sustainable, and to do that investing in human capital will be essential as it is the way to develop more innovation capacity, technology, research and productivity.''Jorge Familiar, World Bank Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean said that “it is hard to think of a more important element to broaden opportunities for all Latin Americans than a quality education," and he emphasized that "it is hard to think of a more significant player to raise educational quality than the region's teachers."For a region in need of enhancing student learning, this is a sign that much more needs to be done to recruit, groom and motivate great teachers. According to global research, students with the best teachers advance 1.5 grade levels or more per year, while those with the worst teachers master 0.5 year of curriculum or less. That research also shows clearly that the economic and social benefits of national education spending depends on what students’ learn – and not how many years they stay in school. If Mexico raised its average student performance on PISA to Germany’s level, its annual long term GDP growth could rise by 2 percentage points.The report sheds important light on who Latin America’s teachers are today:Their pay incentives are low. Their monthly salaries in 2010 were between 10 and 50 percent lower than salaries for other “equivalent” professionals and have been throughout the 2000s.They have more formal education than other professional and technical workers but start out academically weaker than the overall pool of higher education students. 75% are women.Students majoring in education are of lower socio-economic status and are more likely to be first-generation university students.The teaching force in the region is aging. The average teacher in some countries is more than 40 years old.While many countries in the region are producing an excess supply of new teachers, it is still difficult to find adequate teachers for secondary level mathematics, science, and high quality bi-lingual teachers (Spanish/indigenous language) in rural areas.“Virtually all countries in the region appear trapped in a low-level equilibrium of low standards for entry into teaching, relatively low and undifferentiated salaries, weak instruction in the classroom, and poor educational outcomes,” according to Barbara Bruns, the author of the report, “Moving to a high-level equilibrium will be difficult but it is an effort that the region can’t afford to postpone.”At a time of diminished public resources, the report makes a significant contribution in helping identify where priorities should be assigned. Among its striking findings is the fact that teachers in countries with the largest investment on “One Laptop per Child” initiatives actually spent the lowest share of total class time using information and communications technologies.Challenges ahead for the region are mixed. Over the next decade, the declining size of school-aged population in about half of the countries in the region, notably the Southern Cone, could make it substantially easier to raise teacher quality; in the other half of the region, especially Central America, the need for more teachers will make this harder to achieve.The report’s good news, however, is that most LAC countries are sharpening their focus on teacher quality. It distills the global research evidence and latest LAC experience with innovative programs and major reforms in three priority areas:Policies to recruit better teachers.Programs to groom or develop the skills of teachers already in service.Stronger incentives to motivate top performance, which will make the profession more attractive and selective over time.In analyzing the design and implementation of major teacher policy reforms in Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Mexico, the report chronicles the decisive role of teachers’ unions, the value of finding consensus solutions, and how to build the broad support of civil society that has underpinned successful and sustainable reforms.For more information, please visit: www.worldbank.org/lacVisit us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/worldbankBe updated via Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/WorldBankFor our YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/lacregion2010 Show Less -
In this World Cup, we have seen kicking, elbowing, head butts and even a bite. Neither have all celebrations of victories been peaceful: the first triumph of Colombia left people dead and injured in B... Show More +ogota; and in Chile, celebrations ended with people setting fire to buses and clashing with the police.The sport is also associated with barras bravas in some Latin American countries and their counterparts in Europe – hooligans--, and with the so-called “soccer war in Central America” (1970) and even with a rise in cases of domestic violence in England, according to a recent study.Paradoxically, the same sport that triggers this violence both on and off the field can also be a tool for achieving the opposite: that people or societies at risk of violence can learn to live in peace.“It is a sport that brings people together, that generates passions, that attracts, that is collective, that requires interaction, for which reason it has great advantages for use as a tool for instilling in children and young people skills that enable them to peacefully resolve conflicts,” says Martha Laverde, an education expert at the World Bank.Thus, the conclusion seems clear: if you live in a community where there are high rates of violence and delinquency, the best thing to do is not to call the police but to build a soccer field.However, Laverde warns that the reality is not so simple. “It is not the game for the game itself, there has to be intent and this is what leads so many organizations in the world to use soccer as a means for developing a culture of peace.”Soccer without violenceIt is precisely this intent that has been successfully put into practice in different parts of Latin America, where thousands of young people in areas affected by crime or armed conflicts have opted to shoot balls instead of bullets.In Zacatecoluca, one of the most crime-ridden municipalities of El Salvador, the soccer team was strengthened and a new field was built, which has become a place where local children can learn the values of sports and respect.“Previously, this neighborhood was one of the most dangerous, but thanks to the work with young people, we have managed to reduce delinquency by nearly 90%,” says Carlos Gómez Villegas, coordinator of the soccer school in La Esperanza in Zacatecoluca.In Colombia, for example, -where the armed conflict has left more than 200,000 dead in 60 years--, the Soccer with a Heart initiative helps over 2,000 children from poor communities or those at risk of violence to have access to new opportunities and to develop skills that enable them to confront adversity and co-exist in peace.Catholic Priest Alberto Gauci went even further. He built a stadium for 20,000 spectators in Juticalpa, a Honduras community of just 120,000 inhabitants, which is affected by drug-trafficking and gang violence.Martha Laverde explains that the roles players assume on the field are the same ones that young people encounter in their families, schools and communities (the leader, the strategist, the defender, the offender, the one who seeks only results, the one who seeks only to impede).“All of these roles in the game require each person to have at least two very important skills: empathy and control over emotions,” says Laverde.If children and young people can master these two skills of social interaction (empathy and control over emotions) through soccer, “they will undoubtedly have tools that will protect them from acting violently.”All of these values are necessary in Latin America, which is officially rated as the most violent region in the world, with 30 percent of all homicides despite having just 9 percent of the world’s population. Show Less -
This article most likely arrived to you by recommendation of Facebook and/or Twitter, which makes you part of the growing legion of global users —250 million of them Latin America— who use the web and... Show More + social networks to keep informed.Latin America is experiencing a true digital transformation that is radically changing the way in which users receive information. It is forcing governments to adapt media legislation to the new times.In discussions of this phenomenon, the most pressing question is: Is there more or less freedom of expression in the region as a result of the digital revolution and the new media legislation?That question was at the center of the debate of a group of experts who met last Thursday and Friday in Washington, convened by the World Bank, Inter-American Dialogue, National Public Radio and the Carter Center. The Freedom of the Press and Digital Transformation in Latin America forum expanded beyond the confines of the auditoriums through social networks with the hashtag #mediosdigitales. “Freedom of expression is one of the liberties that society needs to be completely free,” wrote Tony Mora from the Dominican Republic on Facebook, a view that resonates with thousands of users of social networks.On Twitter, Eliana Barrios asked if freedom of expression should be regulated, “or is it the same thing as censuring?”Regulation versus freedom of expression?While the word “regulation” triggers adverse reactions in many people, experts agree that, like in the rest of consolidated democracies in the world, the countries of the region need media laws not to limit freedom of expression, but rather to promote it. “Well-defined, open and respectful legislation is an essential tool for guaranteeing the right to full freedom of expression and of information to all citizens and media,” said Sergio Jellinek, World Bank External Affairs Manager for Latin America. He added that the pending task in the region is to achieve media plurality in the context of digitalization.Media law should not be viewed as a mechanism to silence and censure the press and independent journalists, according to Gustavo Gómez Germano, author of the book La regulación de medios y de televisión digital en América Latina. But that legislation must respect the rights of the individual. “Our region needs to review and reformulate legislation on communications media to uphold recommendations of international bodies such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and to remove obstacles to the full exercise of these freedoms, for example by repealing ‘contempt’ laws and de-penalizing defamation in cases of public interest,” said Gómez, who directs the Latin American Observatory on Regulation, Media and Convergence. The expert stressed that media regulation should not affect media content, which “should remain in the hands of journalists.”Silvio Waisbord, director of graduate studies at George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs, agrees with him. Waisbord believes that traditionally, there was a negative perception of the role of the state in guaranteeing freedom of expression because it functioned as a “huge piñata of resources.”The dictatorship of the clickOn Friday, the media forum moved from the World Bank to National Public Radio (NPR), the U.S. venerable public radio station. On that forum, participants suggested that the digital revolution has turned the traditional press upside down and that there is still no clear business model to guarantee the survival of media outlets. Even so, it is important for digital platforms to adapt to audiences, said NPR Ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos.Pluralism in Latin American media systems was also discussed on the forum.“Regulation has not improved citizen inclusion,” said Omar Rincón, director of the Journalism Institute of Colombia’s Universidad de los Andes.For other experts, the real dictatorship “is that of the click,” in other words, the act users perform to open a web page.“The click takes place in a context of competition where rigor and ethics as well as depth take a back seat,” said Daniel Moreno, director of the Mexican news site Animal Político. He believes that this pressure causes more harm than good in terms of informing the public.In this sense, Óscar Martínez of El Faro, a pioneering digital newspaper based in El Salvador, claimed that some online media have managed to “depoliticize” coverage of the national situation, which has surprised readers given that they have traditionally identified a medium with an ideological tendency. “We stopped resembling political parties at some point and began to seem like people governed by ethical and professional standards,” he said. Show Less -