In a highly publicized forum bringing together regional leaders from Latin America, the group gathered to discuss issues on youth to commemorate World Youth Day. At this event, the Deputy Minister of Planning of Ecuador, Ana Maria Larrea, noted that “about 200 million people, one-third of Latin America’s population are young” and urged governments to ‘capitalize’ the current ‘demographic’ in the region with ‘specific policies targeting youth.’
With the demand for higher education opportunities, the cost of tuition remains an issue for many young people in Latin American. As students are seeking affordable opportunities to pursue higher education, a proliferation of options has appeared on the scene. In a publication titled, “Latin America’s New Knowledge Economy: Higher Education, Government, and International Collaboration” released early this year, leading scholars from Latin America explore education’s role “in advanced workforce development, trends in academic mobility and outcomes for brain circulation, and investment in the region by U.S. universities and corporations.” Countries outside Latin America are eager to fill in the gap. The International Student Network (ISN) announced in July that top U.S. colleges are seeking eligible students from Latin America to matriculate in many different fields of study, especially STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) coursework, to fill voids in recent enrollment declines at their institutions of higher learning.
In Costa Rica, public university students that pass admission tests receive their education at a substantially lower cost despite government provided subsidies for private university students. Government issued scholarships for working-class families in need, as well as incentives for targeted areas of study–such as STEM courses–are available to encourage enrollment. Increasing online education offers the opportunity to choose from a variety of courses and off-campus location to complete programs.
With more demand by students and potential employers for a trained workforce, technical and trades schools are increasingly popular. The focus at these schools is to help students with what they need to know on how to get employed. Areas of high interest include: research, medical technology, manufacturing, tourism, financial and computer technology. However, students too eager to receive certification may be tempted to take shortcuts by paying more than the paper certificate is worth from sham agencies taking advantage of the current valuation of college degrees. Accreditation provides confidence that student certification will be transferable to other educational institutions and accepted towards graduation requirements. Students and employers can be reassured that the vocational training skills are relevant and useful in the marketplace.
With the increase of options for Latin American students to pursue higher education, the competition to meet the demand may provide the right opportunities.
Source: Education News