Peru has achieved important economic and social improvements in recent decades. But the education system and labour market remain underdeveloped and highly unequal affecting young people's access to decent jobs.
This research project investigates why by focussing on 3 themes:
1. What drives young Peruvians' decisions about their higher education, training, and skill acquisition?
- What affects their decision to enrol in higher education?
- What skill sets do young people have who access higher – or lower - quality higher education?
2. What constrains the development of skills through childhood and adolescence?
- How does inequality and early life circumstances affect the acquisition of skills?
- Who has access to quality education and training?
- How effective is the basic education system in Peru in developing appropriate skills?
3. Why are some young Peruvian men and women more likely than others to find decent and meaningful work?
- What role do cognitive, socio-emotional and technical skills play in accessing formal jobs?
- What is the education, skills and training profile of young formal workers?
- Do young people have realistic expectations of the labour market?
The role of social and gender norms will be investigated throughout.
The project also examines two initiatives aiming to improve young people’s skills. 1. A school-improvement program ("Jornada Escolar Completa") increases both the contact hours in targeted schools and their resources. 2. Training schemes offer a second chance to young people who are unable to complete their formal studies.
This study analyses existing Young Lives data spanning 15 years (on two cohorts of children from birth to 15 years old and 8 to 22 years old), supplemented with matching information on schools, including their facilities, programmes and teacher qualifications. It will also use new qualitative data (from semi-structured interviews and focus groups) for employed and unemployed youth and those attending vocational and training institutions to examine how they see the trade-offs between further education, training and work and what ‘decent work’ means to them.
The high-quality, timely and policy-relevant research that we aim to produce through this research has the potential to shape policy and recommendations in Peru and beyond. The research team have started to engage with policymakers and NGO representatives in Peru, and at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington DC.