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ARGENTINA | 13-03-2024 16:21

Six out of every 10 schoolchildren in Argentina are poor, says UCA

A report by UCA's Social Debt Observatory exposes complex situation facing Argentine children and youths who attend educational institutions.

The impact of the economic crisis in Argentina is being felt increasingly by children and teenagers, new studies are warning.

A report looking into the growing young population living below the poverty line said this week that six out of every 10 children and teenagers attending school in the country are poor. The finding, produced by the influential Observatorio de la Deuda Social of the Universidad Católica Argentina (Social Debt Observatory of the Catholic University of Argentina, ODSA-UCA). underlines that the impact on school-going youngsters across the country.

The biggest proportion of this group, which represents 62.9 percent of kids and youths at school overall, is students at state school, where poverty affects seven out of 10 (71.6 percent).

Around 16.2 percent of schoolchildren and young students live in extreme poverty, reported ODSA-UCA.

While in the case of lay schools, the percentage falls to 26.8 percent, the figure amounts to 33.9 percent among students of religious schools. By taking into account both private sectors of schools, the analysis shows that three out of every 10 private students (29.4 percent) are poor, or nearly 356,000 children and teenagers – way below the levels seen in state schools.

UCA's report, “Characterisation of the educated children and teenagers depending on the type of education,” covers children and teenagers between 0 and 17 years old attending educational institutions.

Most educated children and teenagers in the country attend state schools (72.4 percent), according to data from the last Annual Survey prepare by the Education Ministry (which was downgraded to a secretariat last December). Out of the three mandatory levels of schooling (initial, primary and secondary), nursery level is the one recording the highest enrollment in the private sector.

The study, which was published on Monday for the second semester of 2023, is a slight improvement from the 2023 figures.

The report was prepared by researchers Ianina Tuñón and Matías Maljar and is based on data from the Argentine Social Debt Survey (covering only cities with over 80,000 inhabitants) to delve into some characteristics of the population of school age, with a view to providing evidence that may help “build public policies aimed at populations which in this context can face difficulties to continue studying” in private schools.

The document, which was delivered to officials at the Education Secretariat the Secretariat of Education, focuses on “the population of socially vulnerable children and teenagers attending private lay or religious schools, whose education entails a financial contribution by their homes," say its authors.

UCA’s survey comes on the back of a new report by UNICEF, disclosed on Tuesday, revealing that seven out of every 10 children were living in poverty in Argentina in the second half of last year.

The figure covers nearly 8.6 million minors under 18 living in homes not reaching the mínimum threshold of financial income or in environments where they are deprived of their rights.

 

– TIMES/PERFIL

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