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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Q: What explains this lack of skills?R: A recent McKinsey global study demonstrated that 72% of educators surveyed felt that they had adequately prepared young people for the labor market, yet just 42... Show More +% of employers believed that recent graduates were adequately prepared. Compared with the other countries studied, the difference in perceptions was particularly marked in two Latin American countries (Mexico and Brazil).The exact causes of the lack of skills are not clear. But there are some theories. First, the quality of education: the skills acquired do not meet the standards or the needs of the labor market. Second, schools are only just beginning to change teaching practices to teach high-level cognitive skills, which are learned through active problem-solving, teamwork and project-based learning. Third, throughout the world, teaching socio-emotional skills has been left to the home environment. We recently completed a study which found that primary school is the ideal time to teach these skills, followed by high school (during turbulent adolescence).Q: How can we improve the link between universities and companies or organizations?R: That seems like a simple question but it actually poses many challenges in practice. We are seeing that employers’ organizations give better guidance to the education sector when they have an immediate interest in the process. In many developed countries, educators and universities form partnerships for research, implement student internships in the companies and share professionals when employers give classes at universities. Latin America has many opportunities to expand on these arrangements to ensure that universities are more present in companies and vice versa.Q: According to the ILO, youth unemployment is 13.9%. Additionally, six of every 10 Latin American youth can only find work in the informal sector. What can be done to improve this situation?R: Statistically, if we look at the number of youth who enter the labor market in a particular year, Latin American youth are no worse off than adults who change jobs. They make the transition at the same rate as adults. The high numbers appear to originate from the fact that too many people are looking for work at the same time; it takes time for the labor market to absorb them all. Of course, this varies by country. In some labor markets, such as that of Argentina, youth face long periods of unemployment. But so do adults. In that case, it is an overall employment issue rather than a specific problem of youth.Second, employment in the informal sector. It is quite easy to enter the informal sector, which provides opportunities to develop skills and the coveted job experience so often necessary for future employment. The statistics show that, over time, many young people “graduate” from the training received in the informal sector to move on to the formal sector. But not all youth reach this step and they remain in the informal sector for much longer. This situation is actually a reflection of a wider problem with labor market structures rather than with education quality, although these two concepts are related, of course. Show Less -