The case of Latin America
The aim of this study is to illustrate the relationships between training and workers' skills, productivity and the growth of quality employment in Latin America societies by means of analysing existing information and case studies of four different countries. The national case studies we selected are Argentina and Chile, which have high indicators of participation in secondary education and productivity measured by GDP per worker; Brazil, which has lower rates of participation in education but a medium level of average productivity and big differences between the more developed regions and the rest of the country; and Peru, which has wide secondary education coverage but a lower product.
We will review the current social and economic situation in these countries and how this evolved in the 1990s, and focus on the differences and similarities between the countries as regards the size of their economies and populations, their unemployment rates, the distribution of urban employment by sectors, and the extent of the informal sector. Lastly, we will examine inequality and poverty, and the differences between countries in the light of the consequences of the economic reforms of the 1990s, the current structural heterogeneity in these areas and the challenges that worker training is facing.
The training situation is presented below. In this, a clear distinction is made between the growth in formal education coverage, which is the source of the general skills needed for insertion in today's labour market, and the development of vocational training, which provides more specific skills and labour competencies. We compare the levels of training of the work force in each country, the current situation in teaching, educational reforms and vocational training structures. We look at what the four selected countries have achieved in education and also their shortcomings, and the differences between them in a scenario in which they all fare poorly when their performance is evaluated on an international level. We examine the coordination between training, employment and productivity, the tensions between the training offer and the needs of the enterprises and population sectors that demand training and employment, current mechanisms to improve this coordination, and the difficulties involved in these areas.
Lastly we will examine the problems that emerge from the foregoing analysis, and the problems inherent in the policies that have been implemented. These difficulties can be summed up as follows:
Educational coverage among populations living in poverty is inadequate and of poor quality, and this has negative consequences in terms of young people's labour competencies.
There is little coordination between formal education, vocational training and the world of enterprises.
The formal economy is huge, but training is geared mainly to the formal economy.
Policy changes are made with insufficient evaluation of the programmes executed.
A review of the activities of institutions involved and programmes implemented raises serious questions about training systems in which the greatest investment is concentrated on better-educated workers who perform in the integrated or formal economy, while poor, unemployed young people and workers in the informal economy receive training that is more limited. We provide a rationale for setting up permanent funds that would make continuity of programmes possible, and also for serious evaluations of interventions and institutions, which would serve as a basis for correcting the orientation of training and responding to the problems outlined above. Lastly, we draw some conclusions about prospects for the future in this sphere in the individual countries studied.
Table of contents
The country cases
The key variables
Contents of the report
1. THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC SITUATION IN LATIN AMERICA
1.1 The socio-economic situation in the selected countries
The informal sector, poverty and inequality
The evolution of the per capita GDP and unemployment
1.2 The challenges in the 1990s
1.3 The current situation in the four countries
2. EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN LATIN AMERICA
2.1 Formal education
Schooling and the labour force
Education in Latin America: quantity without quality
Educational achievements in the countries analysed: shortcomings and differences
Recent changes in educational systems: educational reform
2.2 Specific education and training structures for training for work
Vocational training: origin and development
Training programmes for young people
The current panorama of vocational training in the region
2.3 Coordination between training, employment and productivity: a historical overview
3. POLICIES AND PROGRAMMES IN RESPONSE TO IMPEDIMENTS TO ATTAINING DECENT WORK
3.1 The problems and challenges
3.2 Policies and programmes to respond to these problems and challenges
Improved quality and quantity in training and coordination with enterprises
Heterogeneity in the economy and training for all
The changing policies of successive governments and the difficulty of linking up interventions and evaluating outcomes in the middle and long term
3.3 Practical consequences of the policies implemented and lessons for the future
Reforms in training systems and programmes for specific populations
Coordination between enterprises and training
Training for vulnerable sectors and micro-enterprises
4. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
4.2 The selected countries
ANNEX 1. Statistical tables
ANNEX 2. Boxes
1. CAPLAB: Peru
2. CHILE CALIFICA: Chile
3. PRIMER PASO: Argentina
4. THE UOCRA FOUNDATION: Argentina
5. Education for New Industry: Brazil
6. The SENAI External Evaluation Programme in Brazil
7. The evaluation of ex-trainees from the SENATI Dual Programme: Peru
8. The Labour Competency Certification Programme: Argentina
9. The National Secondary Education Examination: Brazil