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Public School Dropouts Caused by Violence Hinder Regional Development

Lorena Baires -
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October 28, 2013

The Mexican Army patrolled outside schools in Acapulco on Sept. 26, 2012 after teachers held a strike after receiving constant threats from narco-traffickers. (Pedro Pardo/AFP)

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador – The maelstrom of violence caused by gangs and drug trafficking in Mexico and Central America is driving children and young people away from school.

As a result, they lack the skills needed to join the workforce, which negatively impacts regional development.

“In Mexico, there are children and teachers who abandon schools out of fear, who learn amidst fear and decide to leave,” Jorge Sequeira, the regional director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said during a Jan. 30 press conference in Mexico City. “In Central America, the gangs charge a tax to allow students and teachers to attend school, which cannot be permitted.”

With fewer children and young people in school, the rates of formal education are falling. In the future, these unprepared citizens will tend to hold jobs with salaries that keep them on the edge of poverty.

Over the long term, this phenomenon is hindering the economic progress of these countries, negatively affecting the gross domestic product (GDP).

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