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The Expansion of Mass Education in Twentieth Century Latin America: A Global Comparative Perspective*

  • Ewout Frankema (a1)

Abstract

This paper studies the expansion of mass education in Latin America in the twentieth century from a global comparative perspective. The paper argues that expansion in terms of enrolment and attainment levels was quite impressive. A comparative analysis of the grade enrolment distribution demonstrates, however, that the rapid expansion of primary school enrolment did not correspond with an equally impressive improvement in educational quality. The persistently large tertiary education bias in public education spending suggests that part of the poor quality performance is related to a lack of fscal support for primary education and that the political economy explanation for educational underdevelopment, as advanced by Engerman, Mariscal and Sokoloff for the 19th century, still applied to Latin America during most of the 20th century.

Este artículo estudia la expansión de la enseñanza básica en América Latina durante el siglo xx desde una perspectiva mundial y comparativa. El trabajo argumenta que los niveles y la expansión, en términos de matrícula, fue bastante notable. Sin embargo, el análisis comparativo del grado de distribución de la matrícula demuestra que dicha expansión no se corresponde con mejoras equivalentes en la calidad de la educación. El persistente sesgo del gasto público en educación terciaria sugiere que la explicación de su baja calidad está relacionada con las carencias del financiamiento público de la educación primaria. Esto implica que la tesis de economía política sobre el subdesarrollo educativo de América Latina que proponen Engerman, Mariscal y Sokoloff para el siglo XIX, se mantiene durante la mayor parte del siglo xx.

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The Expansion of Mass Education in Twentieth Century Latin America: A Global Comparative Perspective*

  • Ewout Frankema (a1)

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