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The coronavirus facilitates the desertion of Latin American university students

The university always meant the search for new opportunities by the students. However, how to study when it is difficult to survive? .

Students walking

The numbers of student dropouts that the pandemic has left have been worse in Latin America. / Photo: Pexels

LatinAmerican Post | Ariel Cipolla

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Leer en español: El coronavirus facilita la deserción de los estudiantes universitarios latinoamericanos

University desertion is an issue that worries our region. The first thing to say is that, in general, the current generation of students may be, for many families, the first in which a young person can access university degrees. In other words, boys and girls who, thanks to socio-political conditions, can afford their studies.

This is what Page 12 means when speaking of the “challenge of the first generation of university students”, in the sense that, by creating new educational institutions and facilitating the insertion gaps, more and more young people want to start and finish a university career to obtain a bachelor's degree.

Although intention and effort help this achievement to be consummated, it is worth wondering what is happening in such an adverse global context as the current one. The New York Times website talks about the "dangers" of the abandonment of millions of Latin American university students, given the economic crises that are occurring on the continent.

The dangers of pandemic college dropouts in Latin America

At first, the emergence of "online classes" as the only means to combat the coronavirus crisis and maintain teaching allowed students to maintain their regularity. However, this does not mean that, after a while, they decided to abandon due to the difficulties posed by the system.

This is what happens, according to the 889 Noticias website, at the Autonomous Metropolitan University of Mexico, where an increase of up to 15% in university dropouts is expected. Despite trying to build a solid educational model, current teaching conditions pose obstacles for some sectors.

Something similar happens in Colombia. The Medio Semana highlights that, according to the Colombian Association of Universities, student dropout for the second semester of this year would be 25% , despite efforts to generate clear guidelines in classes with virtual modalities.

All this occurs for economic reasons, that is, the students prioritize the stability of the family in an adverse context. This can be seen in Argentina, given that, according to La Izquierda Diario, an assembly was held at the University of Tres de Febrero to raise the connectivity problems of many students, avoiding future dropouts.

In this sense, a clear strategy must be considered so that the region does not suffer the loss of many students who seek to turn teaching into a job opportunity to improve their future. In other words, the university always raised the possibility of improving the quality of life, but the fact of not being able to continue with classes due to the troubled present puts this future at risk.

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Therefore, some proposals are emerging to alleviate school dropouts. The La Vanguardia website highlights that scholarships are "an option to save Peruvians from the educational crisis", that is, to improve the imbalance in access to training, but also so that those who are studying can receive compensation to maintain their course of studies.

Another proposal is that of "For the Future Edomex", which, according to the Así Sucede México website, tries to "avoid desertion at the higher level." In the state of Mexico, there are at least 446 thousand students studying this level, with 50% of whom could be dropped due to not having sufficient resources, so they are thinking of redirecting resources to avoid losses.

Of course, this situation would have some consequences for the structure of the region. According to what El Tiempo comments, the university dropout could lead to less development for the countries. In other words, societies need trained young people to deal with the demands of the world of work.

It is in this context where the resources of the different countries should be optimized for the students. That is, if the abandonment of careers by young people was always a problem, this problem would be accentuated during the quarantine, due to the scarcity of technological resources and the economic difficulty that many of the students have. Will the incentive be sustained even in times of pandemic?