A better education system will take millions out of the informal sector – BRINK – Conversations and Insights on Global Business
The size of the informal sector is a major determinant of how quickly or slowly economies can grow and provide economic opportunities to their inhabitants. In Latin America, unregistered work is an important source of employment for millions of people. But many people find it difficult to make the transition to the formal sector due to the lack of educational opportunities.
Exit the informal sector
Learning and skills development are essential elements of any transition to the formal economy, as they improve people’s skills and hence their employability.
Currently in Latin America, the high school graduation rate is around 60%, a tragedy that has been exponential during the pandemic.
The combination of low levels of schooling in some countries, mainly in secondary education, with limited training opportunities, means that a large part of the population can only access low-skilled jobs, which are constantly threatened by the ‘automating. Today, more than 150 million workers are informal across Latin America.
Given this scenario, quality education and employment must be high on the public policy agenda in Latin America and elsewhere. My book, No work: employment in Latin America amid poverty, education, technology and pandemic, explores how to build an education system to provide opportunities for half of Latin Americans who lack formal and quality jobs today.
The implementation of professional internships can guarantee students a base of professional skills and the corresponding knowledge for a better and more effective integration into the world of work.
We need an education transformation
As education is currently conceived, it is difficult to see it as a factor contributing to the reduction of the informal sector. It is for this reason that the need for a transformation of education systems is becoming increasingly evident.
We need to think about – and build – systems that prioritize learning the skills and competences of the future in order to avoid situations such as the large number of young people and adults who, due to lack of training, have lost their skills. many job opportunities.
Given this reality, there are a number of recommendations to address this issue.
First, the implementation of a credit system, as is the case in Canada, which requires completion of 18 of the 30 credits required for graduation in core subjects, such as mathematics, language, natural sciences and social sciences, with the possibility to supplement the remaining credits in other disciplines linked to different professional fields. This would allow students to acquire the additional knowledge and skills necessary to successfully run their own business or to be more competitive in the economic sector of their choice.
Second, including technology in the classroom from an early age is one of the most effective ways to train not only workers with 21st century skills, but also citizens already familiar with digital technology. .
For Example, the digital transformation in the classroom this I gate outside during my mandate like minsist of etraining of the Province of Buenos Aires involved the distribution of 3,100 mobile digital classrooms containing various digital tools, such as tablets, notebooks, portable server, projector, mobile digital screen, speaker and microphone . We also distributed 30,000 robotic kits containing different parts, screws of different lengths, nuts and sensors to build a robot, generating familiarity with new technologies from the early years.
Think of education as part of the workplace
Third, retraining and training are essential to stimulate future economic growth, and at this stage, the participation of the private sector becomes fundamental because, in addition to its capacity for innovation, this sector is essential to cover the needs of the public system. . does not offer or is unable to provide.
This is the case of Chile, which, through a public-private partnership, has succeeded in training 16,000 unemployed, low-income and middle-class people to enter the formal labor market.
Fourth, integrate vocational training and links to the labor market that improve human capital and ensure their personal and professional growth. As in the case of Colombia, where a technical training program was implemented thanks to an alliance between a civil organization (ACDI-VOCA), an international organization (USAID) and the Colombian government, which enabled the ‘professional integration and improvement of the quality of life for the most vulnerable population.
Finally, the establishment of professional internships which guarantee students a base of professional skills and corresponding knowledge for better and more effective integration into the world of work.
A springboard for social mobility
Education in the regions must once again become the springboard for social mobility, and this will only be possible with a major transformation and innovation of education systems. In short, quality education, as well as the human capital it generates, benefits individuals and societies.
Today, talking about education should be synonymous with talking about work. Letâs stop thinking about education outside of what is happening in the job market.
Faced with the challenge of reducing the informal sector and generating more and better jobs, all actors have a role to play. The state must ensure the conditions for the private sector, the biggest generator of jobs, to be successful, and education is key to making this happen.