May 15, 2022 5:04 pm

University: lower-income students not only have a harder time accessing, but also getting to graduate

The majority of Argentine boys and girls, regardless of their socioeconomic background, go to primary school. The secondaryAccording to official statistics, it becomes more difficult for them, especially for those who live in vulnerable contexts. Because although access is massive at this level, many times they end up abandoning because of the need to assume adult roles, such as working outside or inside the home, taking care of younger siblings or taking care of other domestic matters. Also, as happens in other socioeconomic segments, due to not being able to deal with the guidelines that govern the institutions, the scarce possibility of displaying personal interests and the low confidence in one’s own learning capacities, according to the specialists in education.

The scenario is discouraging if one takes into account that more than half of Argentine students do not finish high school in the expected time. But it is much more serious when you go up one more step and observe what happens in the university world. For young people living in situations of poverty, gaining access to a house of higher education can be an alien, utopian desire. Barely 12.4% of young people from the lowest income decile are pursuing university studies in the Argentina, while in the highest decile, 46% have access to a higher education.

Inequalities deepen as progress is made in carrera: in recent years there is a greater concentration of students who are part of the sectors of higher earnings. The data comes from the report “Educational inequality at the higher level”, of the Argentine Observatory for Education, which analyzes the educational inequalities in the field of higher education.

Argentine Observatory for Education

From the indicators of Permanent Household Survey (EPH), the document investigates the asymmetries in access and permanence in the higher level, as well as in other paths that young people make after high school. Barely 1 in 10 young people from the lowest income decile attends university studies in Argentina.At the other end of the social pyramid, in the highest decile, almost half of young people (46%) attend university -detailed the report-. If we also consider the tertiary careers, it is observed that 17.5% of the poorest young people (decile 1) attend higher education, while the figure is 52.3% for young people with higher incomes (decile 10)”.

The income distribution in Argentina it is also unequal for young people between 19 and 25 years of age. According to the study’s analysis, there are more young people in the lowest income deciles and fewer individuals in the highest deciles. “The decile with the largest young population is number 2, while decile 10, which corresponds to the highest income, is the one that includes fewer young people. From decile 4, the drop in the number of young people is constant”, he warns.

Beyond college admission, The figures show that, as the career advances, the students who remain belong to the highest income deciles, while the students who come from more vulnerable contexts tend to represent an increasingly smaller percentage of the population. university population.

As an example, the Observatory report states: “In the first year, lower-income students represent 7.9% of the total number of students, while in the fifth year they represent 1.1% of the total. In contrast, in the first year, young people with higher incomes represent 5.3% of enrollment and reach 12.7% in the fifth year”.

“Education is one of the factors linked to employment possibilities: the highest employment rates are observed among those who have completed secondary education or higher. There is a strong component of inequality associated with this statistic, because both the completion of the middle level and the subsequent access, permanence and completion of higher education are closely related to the level of income of the students -explains Ivana Tempered, from Latin American Economic Research Foundation (FIEL) and co-author of the report. To dismantle this circle, it is urgent to regenerate the equalizing capacity of the educational system”.

Marcelo Rabossi He is a professor and researcher at the Torcuato Di Tella University and suggests analyzing the policies implemented by the State to try to resolve a model “that is regressive in their results”; that is, those who have more receive a greater reward. “While it is true that the opening of new national universities in the most vulnerable areas of the suburbs facilitated the arrival of first-generation university students, the system continues to be expulsive for those students from lower income sectors, despite free access”, says Rabossi.

Argentine Observatory for Education
Argentine Observatory for Education

“For many decades now the Argentine education is indebted to children and young people from lower socioeconomic profiles. Those who with great effort, and perhaps with strong differences in quality, complete secondary education and enter higher education – he reflects Norberto Fernandez Lamarra, director of the Interdisciplinary Nucleus of Training and Studies for the Development of Education of the National University of Three of February (Untref)–. Most of them drop out because they cannot overcome the existing institutional, curricular and social ‘filters’ in the first years at a free public university without strong admission limitations. This serious problem requires the discussion of new political-educational alternatives, of institutional and pedagogical reforms. Also, from a better training of the teachers”.

At all income levels, according to the study, males access less than women to higher education. They have higher levels of participation both at the university and at the tertiary level. In the lowest income decile, only 11.9% of young men are in higher education (tertiary or university), while the figure is double for women (22.4%). In the upper stratum, this gender difference is reiterated: in the 10th decile, 47.6% of young men are in higher education, while for women the figure rises to 58%.

“Despite the fact that from the legislative point of view our country has advanced (compulsory secondary education is a good example), social inequalities are increasingly serious,” says Pablo Jacobkis, Secretary of Research and Development of Untref–. Education has ceased to be, as it was from Sarmiento and for many decades, probably the most efficient tool that Argentina had of democratic equalization Y social ascent”.

It is also observed, according to the data compiled by the Observatory, that there is a significant percentage of young people between the ages of 19 and 25 who are still in secondary school: “One of every 10 young people from the poorest sectors (deciles 1-3 ) are middle-level students, and in the richest deciles (8-10), the figure is three times lower”, indicates the document that, in addition to Templado, they sign Gabriela Mistral, Martin Nistal and Victor Volman, of the Argentine Observatory for Education.

In addition to the inequality in access and permanence in the university, there are revealed asymmetries in access to tertiary studies, although in this case there is not such a clear pattern regarding the distribution by income. “It is the intermediate deciles (5, 6 and 7) that concentrate the largest number of students who pursue tertiary degrees (around 10%), while the proportion of young people who choose this option drops to 6%, or less, among the richest (decile 10) and among the poorest (deciles 1-2)”, the report concludes.

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