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  • Publication
    Opportunities for All: Brazil Policy Notes 2022
    (Washington, DC, 2022-12) World Bank
    This package of Public Policy Notes is directed to Brazilian policy makers and society to present the World Bank Group’s overview of key challenges facing the country at this juncture, and possible ways forward to address them. We present an agenda prioritized around four issues of core relevance to Brazil’s recovery and its future resilience. First is the goal of financing development sustainably given the immediate challenge of situating the country’s enormous growth, inclusion and climate action needs within a credible macroeconomic framework and efficient and effective fiscal policies. The second theme addressed in this note is building opportunities through productivity-led growth. With the growing reliance of Brazilians on social assistance policies, it is critical to keep sight of growth and jobs as the most important vehicles for the dignity and upward mobility of the poor. Third is increasing the capabilities and economic inclusion of the poor so that they are better able to capture the opportunities that come with growth. Thefourth theme we address in this note is meeting Brazil’s potential as a as a leader in green and climate friendly development. This document is accompanied by a package of six policy presentations and an underlying set of more detailed policy reports that can be accesses here: https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/brazil.
  • Publication
    Internet Access and Use in Latin America and the Caribbean: From the LAC High Frequency Phone Surveys 2021
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-09) World Bank; United Nations Development Programme
    While most households in Latin America and the Caribbean use mobile broadband via smartphones, expensive fees and poor service quality pose major obstacles for potential users. In addition, power outages are a challenge for nearly 40 percent of existing mobile broadband users. Addressing the region’s need for faster, cheaper, and more reliable internet connections is thus a policy and investment priority. There are persistent and significant gaps in digital infrastructure between countries in the region, as well as weighty rural-urban gaps within some countries. Bridging these digital divides will be key to inclusive digital transformation. Households with tertiary education are on average more connected (with better quality service and higher expenditures on data) compared to the rest of the population. As education level is correlated with income, digital inequalities mirror and may amplify existing social inequalities – underscoring the critical need to address them. Over two-thirds of connected households in the region are concerned about privacy and security when using the internet. However, households on average across Latin America and the Caribbean still reported increasing their use of the internet amid the pandemic, suggesting that neither issue poses a barrier to their internet use at present.
  • Publication
    Recovering Growth: Rebuilding Dynamic Post‐COVID-19 Economies amid Fiscal Constraints
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2021-10-06) World Bank
    After its worst economic crisis in 100 years, Latin America and the Caribbean countries are emerging from the COVID‐19 pandemic. The need to recover dynamic, inclusive, and sustainable growth to redress both the legacy of the pandemic and long‐standing social needs has never been more acute. However, despite progress in some areas, the region is facing a weaker recovery than expected given the favorable international tailwinds and is likely return to the low growth rates of the 2010s. Moreover, growth could be further slowed by both internal and external factors: the emergence of a new variant of the virus, a rise in international interest rates to combat global inflation, and high levels of debt in both the private and public sector. Beyond offering the current macroeconomic outlook of the region and the near‐term challenges it faces, this report explores three broad areas where growth‐advancing policies and reforms could be undertaken within a constrained fiscal context: mobilizing sources of revenue that appear to be growth-neutral; improving public spending efficiency to free up resources for other purposes; and reallocating spending to areas with highest growth and social impact.
  • Publication
    The Fast Track to New Skills: Short-Cycle Higher Education Programs in Latin America and the Caribbean
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2021-09-29) Ferreyra, María Marta; Dinarte, Lelys; Urzúa, Sergio; Bassi, Marina
    Higher education in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) has expanded dramatically in the new millennium, yet enrollment in short-cycle programs (SCPs) is still relatively low. Shorter and more practical than bachelor’s programs, SCPs can form skilled human capital fast. The economic crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated underlying trends, such as automation, the use of electronic platforms, and the need for lifelong learning. Addressing these demands requires the urgent upskilling and reskilling of the population—a task for which SCPs are uniquely suited. The Fast Track to New Skills: Short-Cycle Higher Education Programs in Latin America and the Caribbean explores the labor market outcomes and returns of SCPs, examines their providers, and identifies the practices adopted by the best programs. Relying on unique data that includes a novel survey of SCP directors in five LAC countries, it finds that while SCPs generate, on average, good labor market outcomes, they vary greatly in quality. SCP providers respond quickly and flexibly to local economy needs; and specific practices related to faculty, job search assistance, and interaction with prospective employers are distinctive of the best programs. Drawing on these findings, The Fast Track to New Skills discusses how to create an environment where good programs are offered and students have the interest and means to attend them. It draws attention to a higher education sector that has been typically overlooked, both in research and policy. The Fast Track to New Skills will be of interest to policy makers, researchers, and the public at large.
  • Publication
    At a Crossroads: Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-05-02) Ferreyra, Maria Marta; Avitabile, Ciro; Botero Álvarez, Javier; Haimovich Paz, Francisco; Urzúa, Sergio
    Higher education (HE) has expanded dramatically in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) since 2000. While access became more equitable, quality concerns remain. This volume studies the expansion, as well as HE quality, variety and equity in LAC. It investigates the expansion’s demand and supply drivers, and outlines policy implications.
  • Publication
    Great Teachers : How to Raise Student Learning in Latin America and the Caribbean
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2015) Bruns, Barbara; Yarrow, Noah; De Gregorio, Soledad; Evans, David; Fernández, Marco; Moreno, Martin; Rodriguez, Jessica; Toral, Guillermo; Yarrow, Noah
    The seven million teachers of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) are the critical actors in the region's efforts to improve education quality and raise student learning levels, which lag far behind those of OECD countries and East Asian countries such as China. This book documents the high economic stakes around teacher quality, benchmarks the current performance of LAC's teachers, and delineates the key issues. These include low standards for entry into teacher training, poor quality training programs that are detached from the realities of the classroom, unattractive career incentives, and weak support for teachers once they are on the job. New research conducted for this report in close to 15,000 classrooms in seven different LAC countries - the largest cross-country study of this kind to date - provides a first-ever insight into how the region's teachers perform inside the classroom. It documents that the average teacher in LAC loses the equivalent of one day of instructional time per week because of inadequate preparation, excessive time on administration (taking attendance, passing out papers) and a surprisingly high share of time physically absent from the classrooms where they should be teaching. Teachers also make limited use of available learning materials, espcially those using information and communications technology (ICT), and are unable to keep the majority of their students engaged. The book sets out the three priority lines of reform needed to produce great teachers in LAC: policies to recruit better teachers; programs to groom teachers and improve their skills once they are in service; and stronger incentives to motivate teachers to perform their best throughout their career. In every area, the book distills the latest evidence from inside and outside the region to provide practical guidance to policymakers in the design of effective programs and sustainable reforms. A final chapter analyzes the politics of recent major teacher reforms in Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Mexico, chronicling the prominent role of teachers' unions and the political and communications strategies that have underpinned successful reforms.