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The latest figures coming from the Education Ministry showed that the educational breach between private and public school students grows wider by the day.

The figures indicate that out of every 100 children who entered the first grade of a private school in 2003, 70 graduated from high school in 2014. In contrast, only 29 of every 100 students enrolled in public school got their diplomas.

“We have to confront reality and call things by their name. The level of desertion and abandonment of studies ceased to be a technical and pedagogical problem: it is a social drama that severely determines the prospects for sustainable development within the country,” Dr. Julio Durand, dean of the University of Southern Austral Education, told Infobae.

This “educational gap” is more clearly detailed in the report “Far from Equal Opportunities in Secondary School,” published by the Belgrano University. Take the Greater Buenos Aires area, for example: in 2014 it, private and state system had virtually the same number of high school graduates (34,000 and 36,800, respectively). However, the public school system had twice as many students (120,922 v. 56,982).

Although the figures vary throughout the country, the trend is always the same. The City of Buenos Aires produces more graduates from private secondary institutions (59.2% against 41% from public schools). In La Rioja and Chaco, only a 15% and 15.2% of public school students graduate from high school.

Photo by Beatrice Murch
Photo by Beatrice Murch

Among the many probable reasons that lead students to drop out of school, a few of the most obvious are rooted in family support, economic circumstances, and, of course, lack of interest.

Expert in education and innovation Juan María Segura told Infobae that “Secondary school, which is excessively scholastic, doesn’t have the contact with real life that it should in order to have more meaning for children.” “And this is what causes, in part, children to drop out of school. The 40% of the children who leave the classrooms in Latin America, according to an Unesco study in 2013, do so because school is boring. And this bores them because they do not interact with the problems of everyday life like they do outside of school,” the specialist added.

There are movements in place to stymie the dropout rate and perhaps cultivate, if not sustain, a desire to stay in school. The State run Plan Nacional Decenal de Educación (National Decennial Education Plan) presented last March, looks to implement 108 objectives over the course of 5 to 10 years with the consensus of every acting member in the system. Within these 108 objectives are plans to reduce secondary school dropout rates by 70% and get all schools be connected to the internet.

Whatever the case, the Plan Nacional Decenal de Educación proposes to advance education forward with ambition: by 2026, it hopes to achieve 100% secondary school enrollment of Argentines between the ages of 12 and 17.