Primary Education in Latin America: The Unfinished Agenda

May 2002
This paper asks a deceptively simple question. After over a decade of concern about and investment in primary education, what have been the results and how much further does the region need to go before it has achieved a primary education of quality for all children? The paper creatively reviews available data for four countries (Brazil, Chile, Honduras, and Costa Rica) as well as for the region as a whole. The critical policies and investments identified over ten years ago have only been partially implemented. Their full implementation is still needed. They include building up teacher knowledge, pedagogy, and commitment; increasing enrollment in pre-schooling, especially of at-risk children; providing adequate and appropriate teaching materials; targeting resources to disadvantaged children; articulating clear national learning goals; and improving the technical quality and utilization of testing programs.