Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is a land of untapped potential. The region is young, offering a unique demographic window of opportunity for inclusive growth in the region, with education being a key driver of growth to support future progress. The social and economic progress of the last decades led to increased access to education, but much remains to be done to improve the equity and quality of that education.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has been working closely with Latin American countries on education and skills for over three decades. The OECD helps countries identify and develop the knowledge and skills that drive better jobs and promote social inclusion. We also encourage countries to learn from each other and support policy implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Insights from the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), from the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) and now from the Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC), evaluate the quality, equity and efficiency of school systems, as well as adult training, around the world and are instrumental to helping address many of the region’s challenges. The collaboration among Latin American countries and the OECD is growing stronger, with Chile, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru participating in the OECD Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC) and ten Latin American countries – Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Uruguay – participating in PISA. But the evidence that PISA and PIAAC have produced goes well beyond statistical benchmarking. By identifying the characteristics of high-performing education systems, and the skills of those in the labour market, these international evaluations allow Latin American governments and educators to identify effective policies that can be adapted to their regional contexts.

Since the launch of Skills in Ibero-America: Insights from PISA 2012 and 2015 and the Teachers in Ibero-America: Insights from PISA and TALIS in 2018, this is the first PIAAC report that focuses on the region. It uses the most recent regional OECD data, mainly building from PIAAC Cycle 1 (2011-17) and PISA 2018 results, and shows the paths taken by young people at the start of their adult lives, as well as the lifelong impact that the quality of education can have.

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