gE Blog Series: Competitiveness Part 5 - Education and Human Capital in Latin America
Did you know that only 14% of children who live in Latin America receive a private education? As with many parts of the world, education and economic status go hand-in-hand in this region. Recently, large companies have viewed Latin America as a unique test bed to join business with social issues for the benefit of children’s education. Microsoft has come alongside organizations whose goal is to provide one laptop per child throughout Latin America. This is just the tip of the iceberg in growing education, technology and human capital concurrently in a part of the world that is considered an emerging market.
Among the supporters of educational development is the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). One of the projects which is driving significant change is called Disruptive Innovation in the Schools. This initiative is driving to provide “30 million Latin American Students with an electronic device to assist in their learning experiences.” Many believe that it will be projects such as this which drive long-term development of technical and soft skills for this region, especially those who are at a young age. From a global perspective, the skills and personal development afforded to students at this time will pay dividends in economic growth at a later date. How does this relate back to business?
There are two primary benefits to improving the educational system, and therefore human capital in Latin America:
- Higher levels of education and more effective learning will lead to an improved labor market for the entire region. This has the potential to lead to better jobs and improved economic development.
- When supported by large organizations such as the IDB, companies from around the world see business opportunities to gain a foothold in the Latin American market. The perfect example is that of Microsoft taking interest in supporting access to computer technology.
Economic development is highly dependent upon a country’s ability to gear their workforce for challenges to come. Educational initiatives now taking place in Latin America share insight into this region’s current and future competitiveness around the world. Although the gap of education between the rich and poor it staggering, social programs will facilitate raising the bar for all citizens. Moving forward, these students will be key ingredients to Latin America’s development of technology and establishment of innovative business solutions.