Peru: In search of equal opportunities for all

June 8, 2012

LIMA, June 8, 2012 –The presentation of the book ¿Está el piso parejo para los niños en el Perú?  Medición y comprensión de la evolución de las oportunidades [Is the playing field level for Peruvian children?: measuring and understanding changes in opportunities] ended with a call to close the gap in opportunities for Peruvian children through the equitable allocation of government resources. The book was published by the World Bank and the Group of Analysis for Development (GRADE).

The publication explores trends in access of Peruvian children to opportunities critical to their development in the areas of health, education, information access and basic infrastructure over the past decade. The study confirmed that although access to these services should be universal, the reality is that they are not.

 “All Peruvian children, regardless of where they were born, the educational level of their parents, the color of their skin or the language their family speaks, should have the same opportunities of access to basic healthcare, safe water, sanitation, nutrition and a quality basic education, said Susan Goldmark, World Bank regional director for Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. "This study provides the methodology and instruments for targeting, monitoring and evaluation that will contribute to sectoral and inter-governmental coordination to achieve the social results the Peruvian government has established as targets,” she said.

Compared with 18 other countries of Latin America and the Caribbean in the Human Opportunities Index (HOI), Peru ranks sixth in completing primary school on time. Nevertheless, with respect to access to sanitation, Peru ranks tenth, in safe water, fourteenth and in electricity, fifteenth.

Other key HOI findings for Peru include:

  • The index for completing primary school on time is 50 (the index ranges from 0 to 100), which continues to be low given the insufficient coverage as well as the unequal distribution of opportunities.
  • Peru has been more successful in expanding coverage of pre-school education.
  • With respect to infrastructure, HOI performance was uneven. The HOI for cellular telephony grew significantly, from 8 to 52 between 2004 and 2009, although marked disparities persist.
  • The HOI for access to electricity rose from 52 to 67 whereas that of sanitation increased from 44 to 55, in both cases due to improved coverage and more equitable distribution.
  • In the case of safe water, improvements were limited.

Overall, parents’ education, income and region of birth still play a major role in generating inequality in opportunities for Peruvian children.

The book presentation was organized with support from the Consorcio de Investigación Económica y Social (the Economic and Social Research Consortium) and the Universidad del Pacífico.

The study uses the Human Opportunity Index, which is a measurement tool introduced in 2009 in a World Bank Study for Latin America and the Caribbean. The HOI measures inequality of opportunities in access to a specific group of goods and services – which are referred to as “basic opportunities” -- and their relation with a set of “circumstances” for a particular population segment: children and young people under age 18. This study includes variables such as gender, location (urban/rural), altitude of district of residence, education and income of the household head, family structure (number of siblings and whether there are two parents present) and ethnic group (estimated based on the mother tongue spoken at home).

Media Contacts
In Peru
Sandra Arzubiaga
Tel : +51 1 622-2300


2012/8 June/LAC