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Story Publication logo February 16, 2022

Corona as the Evil Stepmother of the Dark-Haired Rapunzel


hair ties


La Promesa

Education has become a highly politicized issue in Argentina during the pandemic.

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Multiple Authors
Antonella lives 150 meters from the city of Buenos Aires, where classes started half a year earlier than the rest of the country after the Supreme Court sided with the city of Buenos Aires' refusal to abide by a national government edict to shut schools as infections rose. Image by Irina Werning. Argentina.

With 8% of the world’s population, Latin America has suffered around a third of recorded deaths from Covid-19. Its economies contracted by 7% last year, compared to 3.5% of the world as a whole. Much less discussed is that Latin America’s schools have stayed shut for longer than those in any other region.

Before the pandemic, education was already a problem in Latin America, plagued by deep structural inequalities that mirrored the wide income inequality in the region. The pandemic has made this bad situation worse. Latin American children have lost on average around 4 months more of class time than students elsewhere in the world. Children’s future is under threat. Ignoring this tragedy could lead to intractable crises that, like in Central America, have no quick, easy solutions.

Education should be an equal priority if Latin America is not to fail a whole generation.

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Antonella takes a little nap when studying. She feels a lack of motivation. "Nothing beats being in the classroom," she says. Image by Irina Werning. Argentina.
The disruption to routines, education, recreation, as well as concern for family income and health, is leaving Antonella feeling afraid, anxious, and concerned for her future. Image by Irina Werning. Argentina.
Imge by Irina Werning. Argentina.
Even if basic technological requirements are met, children without family assistance will have a learning disadvantage when compared with students who have parental assistance. Image by Irina Werning. Argentina.
For many students in Latin America, attending school in person accomplishes an additional function: schools serve as guarantors of social and citizenship formation. For example, they provide children with food, therapy, and specialist services. Image by Irina Werning. Argentina.
"I missed 260 days of school." Image by Irina Werning. Argentina.
Image by Irina Werning. Argentina.
"I always thought if I cut my hair something in me would be missing, but when school disappeared that's exactly how I felt." Image by Irina Werning. Argentina.
Image by Irina Werning. Argentina.
Image by Irina Werning. Argentina.


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Three women grouped together: an elderly woman smiling, a transwoman with her arms folded, and a woman holding her headscarf with a baby strapped to her back.


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