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FEATURE STORY

Mexico: In Oaxaca, Few Graduate in the Professions That Are Most Needed

February 14, 2013


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Isabelle Schäfer/ World Bank

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Only 12 out of 100 students get a university degree.
  • Many students in Oaxaca choose to study primary school teaching, according to a new report.
  • Scholarships, internships and more career options could help young people enter higher education and obtain a relevant degree.

In Oaxaca, one of the poorest States in Mexico, only 12 out of 100 students get a university degree and most of these degrees are not related to the job demands.

Why is that? On the one hand, only few young people in the State manage to finish high school. In fact, only 18% of Oaxacan youth are in higher education. That is almost half the national rate.

On the other hand, it is also true that there are not many universities in Oaxaca: in 2011, the State had one of the lowest numbers of higher education institutions in the country compared to its population, according to the recently published report “Higher Education and Development in Oaxaca”.

However, the low number of students in university in Oaxaca is not linked to low financial resources: in fact, Oacaca receives the same amount of money per student as the rest of the country.

Qualified professionals: crucial for innovation

What young people study also matters.  According to this new report, many of the students in Oaxaca choose very few university programs .

About 70% of all students are concentrated in only 7 seven professional areas . The most popular is primary school teaching – chosen by 20% of students.

The teaching career is growing: the number of new students has increased by 75% in only five years.  However, there are only few qualified professionals that are able to use and adapt technology – crucial for the labor market and ultimately for Oaxaca´s economy.

 “The availability of highly qualified resources is crucial for developing innovation and increasing productivity, and also for internationalizing the technological progress developed in other regions and countries,” according to the report.


" The availability of highly qualified resources is crucial for developing innovation and increasing productivity, and also for internationalizing the technological progress developed in other regions and countries. "

Scholarships and internships

The report has several suggestions that could help young people enter higher education and obtain a relevant degree, regardless of their social or economic background. Here are some of them:

  • Prevent drop-outs in earlier education levels
  • Have more career options associated with innovation and technology
  • Introduce scholarships programs for all university students
  • Offer student loans for young people from low-income families
  • Create internship programs to help students gain work experience
  • Promote companies that help start-ups
  • Offer vocational orientation to high school students

About the World Bank in Mexico

The World Bank is collaborating with Oaxaca on development issues like education by offering a whole array of knowledge and convening activities, including giving technical assistance and analysis, and bringing key stakeholders together. The study mentioned above is part of the services the World Bank is providing to the State, as part of a Memorandum of Understanding.

 


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