World Bank chides Paraguay for spending too little on education

EFE

Paraguay invests too little in education and the money it does earmark for schooling is badly spent, according to a World Bank report released here Tuesday.

Though the country "has increased its spending in the social area during the last 15 years," that increase "has not translated into better results in the indicators," one of the study's authors, Matteo Morgandi, told EFE in Asuncion.

In the area of education, the World Bank highlights that Paraguay devoted 3.4 percent of GDP to the sector in 2016, compared with the average of 5.4 percent of GDP among other countries at the same level of development.

Moreover, the Bank found that the performance of Paraguayan students on standardized tests was poor even taking into account the inadequate funding.

To improve the effectiveness of spending and the quality of learning, the World Bank recommends that Paraguay strengthens teacher training and compensation, as well as adjusting the distribution of funding among the different levels of education.

The report was presented by the Bank's representative in Paraguay, Celia Ortega.

She said that using the World Bank's Human Capital Index as a measure, "Paraguayan children will only be able to reach 53 percent of their full potential as adults" under the current level of social spending.

Also present for the presentation were the ministers of education, Eduardo Petta; health, Julio Mazzoleni; social development, Mario Varela; and finance, Benigno Lopez, who pledged on behalf of the government to undertake "important reforms" to boost the effectiveness of social spending.

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