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INEGI finds 5.2 million students have not returned to classes due to covid pandemic

Mexico City, Mexico — A federal survey has found more than 5 million students around the country have not returned to classes due to the covid pandemic. The survey, which was conducted by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), found 2.9 million students aged 3 to 29 did not enroll in the 2020-2021 school year due to lack of economic resources.

The federal survey also found another 2.3 million students failed to enroll for other reasons related to the pandemic, a majority of which, was due to the dissatisfaction of distant learning. Another close-running leading factor for their lack of enrollment included teachers/tutors who became unemployed and closed the place of learning.

Of the 5.2 million surveyed students, 3.6 million reported they could not go back to school because they were forced to find employment.

“Of the reasons for not enrolling in the 2020-2021 school year, the response due to lack of money or resources stands out, which may be intensified given the effects of the crisis caused by the pandemic,” INEGI (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía) said in its report.

Marco Fernández, professor at the Tecnológico de Monterrey and researcher from México Evalúa, indicated that what is most worrying is the lack of public data on school drop-outs, noting that students leaving their studies truncated, “will have a bleak future because they will have less possibility of income, which in turn, will create a problem of perverse circles of poverty, that is, if you start to earn less because you do not have studies, the opportunities to provide resources to your children will be less.”

For this reason, he says it is necessary to have a clear route on the gradual return to classes to compensate for the loss of learning.

“The pandemic forced us to abruptly launch into a new experience. The lack of knowing how to use distance education has caused disappointment and boredom among students and teachers, which has led to desertion and poor quality of education during and after the pandemic,” said Miguel González, coordinator of the Center for Financial Studies and Public Finance at UNAM.

He added that this will have a negative effect on “modernization, economic and human development and the digital future, which other countries are advancing rapidly in this century.”