The United States of America has been very keen to improve the education system of the Latin American regions as they lag behind the rest of the world. The two regions with the same suffix ‘America’ seem to have been two different poles. The North has been enlightened with the modern education system, smart approaches to learning and greater techniques of the skill development nut the South is crippling due to its conventional education system and poor performing youth. The PISA says it all that the Latin youth have been proving themselves as the ‘turtles’ in the race of ‘Rabbits’.
Clustering a country with educational institutions is not enough for the establishment of a sound educational system but the core idea is to improve the efficiency of the institution so that the products they manufacture must get recognition in the global scenario and they can compete with others on the basis of international standards. The PISA report published in 2016 is really alarming and the governments of both North and Latin America have taken the facts and challenges into sincere consideration.
The Latin American Educational indicators have discrepancies as compared to global trends of quality education. The students from these regions have failed to undertake competition with the developed world in terms of international assessment tests and who are working, have significantly lesser incomes than the others. For understanding the situation in-depth comparisons based on international statistics are essential. In addition to poor education quality dropout rates (boys have higher than girls) grade repletion and equity issues are also one of the major loopholes especially at the secondary level. The teaching trends are outdated and the teachers are not adequately trained on standard parameters as the other countries have. The world is moving towards Hi-End smart education which is more practical, research-based and skill-focused rather than conventional and paper oriented theoretical approach. Few governments in Latin America invest an appropriate proportion of their annual budget on education that has been recommended by the international experts who calculate the proposition prescribed on the basis of global statistics.
The US agency USAID is a major supporter of education programs to promote reforms in Latin America and administers many scholarship schemes, student exchange programmes and teacher’s training workshops under Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. USAID’s Bureau of LAC (Latin America and the Caribbean) is working on many regional and bilateral assistance programmes in the region. Its aim is to increase resources, formulation of better curriculum, teacher’s training, community interaction programmes and increase access to education for deprived sections of the society.
As far as regional programmes are concerned Centers of Excellence for Teacher Training (CETT) aimed at providing quality training to a total of 20,000 teachers by 2009 who could train more than 650,00 0 children. The Partnership for Educational Revitalization in the Americas (PREAL) which is a private agency aims to promote equality in national quality education programmes. The report cards published by them are based on all sort of global parameters used for assessment of education system.
USAID currently works on a bilateral basis in Dominican Republic, Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico, Jamaica, Peru, Nicaragua and Guatemala and provides educational assistance. Some Caribbean countries also receive assistance provided by this agency. Three Equip Mechanisms have been introduced. Classroom, school and community education come under Equip-1, educational system and management in Equip-2 and serving school pass-out youth in Equip-3.
The State Department in the US also takes care of the educational administration, cultural exchange programmes, scholarship schemes so that the Latin American students get maximum benefits. With the help of Partnership for Latin American Youth (PLAY) programme, the Study of United States Institute for Student Leaders (SUISL) and Fulbright Foreign Student Program brought the selected students to the US and provided them with training which was globally appreciated as fellowship programmes.
Apart from these, the legislative apparatus was also arranged to assist students of the Latin region and the special Acts were passed to foster the talents and make the educational framework more efficient and effective. This included 2-year scholarship, 30 months study for undergraduate and 1 year for postgraduate students to study in the US.