630,000 Mexican Students Quit University Due to PandemicBy Cas Biekmann | Wed, 08/26/2020 - 15:11
The prolonged pandemic is having adverse effects across Mexico’s economic and social environment. According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), these effects have reached Mexico’s academic talent pool, as well. “Historically, during natural and health emergencies when schools have been closed, evidence indicates that the long-term effects on students are mainly linked to (1) dropping out of their education and (2) recovery of learning, once the activities have been resumed on a regular basis,” highlighted UNDP in its report ‘Human Development and COVID-19 in Mexico’.
The 630,000 drop-out expectations include students who are no longer able to sustain their education for a variety of reasons, financial mainly as higher education represents a larger investment, while simultaneously not a direct necessity to find a job. Faced with reduced salaries and unemployment, many students are quite simply not able to continue with their university studies, reported El Economista.
For the academic year 2020-2021, the UN believes that 15.5 percent less students will enroll in postgraduate studies, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. The first significant drop in this regard has already occurred, according to figures from Mexico’s Ministry of Public Education (SEP): during the recently concluded school year, about 305,000 university students dropped out, concluding in an 8 percent drop in enrollment.
The dropouts could translate to setbacks for Mexico’s Education index, a key component of the UNDP’s Human Development Index. This indicator dates back to 1990. Mexico had been showing consistent improvement since then, up to the current pandemic.
Deputy Minister of Higher Education Luciano Concheiro said the ministry will implement programs focused on academic continuity. With these, students likely to drop out will be identified and called upon to prevent them from quitting their studies.
Other measures proposed to lessen the fallout of the pandemic in the academic environment include making scholarships more broadly available, as well as implementing a better approach to virtual learning. Other factors, such as solving the lack of access to high-speed internet for students who cannot afford the costly access to it can be beneficial as well.