Following the widely commented difficulties of a Toyota auto plant in recruiting suitable employees among those completing secondary studies, a study of Argentine youth below the age of 24 indicates that 31 percent have not finished secondary education at all.
The situation is even worse among low-income groups where only 52 percent of youth could complete their secondary studies, according to a report published last Tuesday by the Instituto pare el Desarrollo Social Argentino (IDESA) based on Education Ministry data. Among high-income families the percentage of youth completing secondary school rises to 88.
Even more alarmingly the IDESA report is based on 2019 data, thus predating the coronavirus pandemic. It warns in a conclusion that “a deeper degradation must be expected due to the prolonged alteration of educational processes unleashed as from early 2020.”
It continues: “All the students are suffering the consequences but the most severe damage is registered among the lowest socio-economic levels where it proved impossible to migrate to methods of virtual learning. The terminal crisis derived from the pandemic should trigger a profound change in educational policies."
The report shows 47 percent of students not reaching satisfactory levels in language and mathematics, rising to 81 percent for public education.
The report also highlights that secondary education in Argentina concentrates on preparing youth for university entrance rather than entry into the job market. In that sense it points out that European countries like Germany, Austria, Holland and Denmark, among others, "organise their secondary schooling both to prepare their youth for university education and school-leavers for the job market. The latter is known as vocational education."
Furthermore, the report highlights that "it would be very enriching for students to complete their training from school within a company."
Nevertheless, it warns that in Argentina that proposal faces "obsolete visions from both the educational sphere [which does not consider it the function of schools to train manpower for companies] and from labour legislation [which is highly restrictive against permitting on-the-job training for youth]."