Skip to Main Navigation
FEATURE STORYNovember 17, 2022

Education in crisis and without connection to the Internet

Génesis, an 11-year-old girl from Panama, studies at home with the help of a cell phone

Génesis, an 11-year-old girl from Panama, studies at home with the help of a cell phone

Education in Latin America and the Caribbean is not only facing a crisis of quality and lag in the wake of the pandemic, but also a lack of adequate connectivity

For Génesis, going to the fifth grade is much more than going to school. It is the return to face-to-face classes after the pandemic. Online learning was a challenge that, for her, meant missing classes due to limited or no connectivity at home.

During the closure of schools, many children in Latin America and the Caribbean, like Génesis, faced a situation they could not solve. Learning during the pandemic meant having a good Internet connection in a region where one in four homes do not have this service

Learn about Génesis’ story (in Spanish)


A World Bank study reveals that, since the start of the pandemic, students have partially or fully lost, on average, two thirds of the days for face-to-face classes. This amounts to an estimated loss of 1.5 years of learning and affects the youngest and the most vulnerable to a greater extent.

These  impacts require  urgent, coordinated, and scaled actions to drive the  present and future education of the region’s children and youth, which is stated in the regional commitment made by the World Bank, UNESCO, UNICEF, and the Inter-American Dialogue, along with the governments of Chile, Honduras, Argentina, and Ecuador.

The role of connectivity in education

The recovery of education will not take place if the basic conditions for learning are not available to all students equally. This is one of the major challenges facing the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. There is an urgent need to ensure that the tools to support, enrich, and diversify learning are available to those in remote areas with limited access.

Despite the progress made in increasing access to educational technology in recent years, connectivity, especially in vulnerable urban and rural areas, continues to be an obstacle. Thirty-two percent of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean, or 244 million people, 46 million of whom live in rural areas, do not have access to the Internet. The statistics are even worse for school connectivity.

Connecting key actors to provide connectivity

Meaningful connectivity of schools, teachers, and students in remote areas is not only a priority issue but can also be the point of convergence for different actors in society, such as the private sector, the public sector, civil society, the media, multilateral organizations, and society in general.

For example, the event "Educational Connectivity in Complex Areas - A Call to Action to Solve Connectivity Gaps in Latin America" was attended by leaders in all key areas from different countries in the region.

Listen to interventions at the event (in Spanish)

Even before the crisis, the region was facing an educational crisis, with very high levels of learning poverty and stark inequities. The equitable recovery of education will be very difficult if the level of connectivity, which was below average, though higher than that of some other regions, does not increase significantly.
Emanuela Di Gropello
Practice manager for education in Latin America and the Caribbean


    loader image


    loader image