SANTIAGO, Chile, (CMC) –The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is urging regional countries to address the “silent crisis” in education to avert what it describes as “the risk of a lost generation.”
ECLAC said despite the slight decline recorded in 2021, projections indicate that poverty and extreme poverty rates remain above pre-pandemic levels in 2022 in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).
In its latest publication titled “Social Panorama of Latin America and the Caribbean 2022”, which addresses education as a central issue along with its role in the debate on policies for the region’s recovery, ECLAC said “after a sharp increase in poverty and a slight increase in income inequality in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the extreme poverty and poverty rates declined in 2021 and the middle-income strata grew, but not by enough to fully reverse the negative effects of the pandemic”.
The publication projects that 201 million people, or 32.1 per cent of the region’s total population, live in situations of poverty, with 82 million (13.1 per cent) of them in extreme poverty, “which points to a slight decline in overall poverty and a slight increase in extreme poverty versus 2021, due to the combined effects of economic growth, labour market dynamics and inflation.
“These figures mean that an additional 15 million people will be living in poverty in comparison with the situation before the pandemic and that there will be 12 million more people in extreme poverty than there were in 2019,” the Social Panorama 2022 report stated, adding “the extreme poverty levels projected for 2022 represent a 25-year setback for the region”.
It notes that more than 45 per cent of the child and adolescent population lives in poverty, and that the poverty rate of women from 20 to 59 years of age is higher than that of men in all of the region’s countries.
Similarly, the report states poverty is considerably higher in the indigenous and Afro-descendent populations.