#EducationWithoutRacism in Latin America

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Children at a school in Honduras Children at a school in Honduras. Copyright: Jessica Belmont/World Bank

In a Latin American school, an Afro-descendant girl opens her textbook to page 19, following her teacher's guidance. What she finds sends a powerful message. Smiling faces adorn the page: a nurse, a scientist, and a lawyer—all depicted as white people. Meanwhile, a basketball player, a dancer, and a construction worker are represented by Afro-descendant people. What does this tell the girl about her own potential?

The response is in this powerful video, where Afro-descendant children and youth across the region defy stereotypes and propose groundbreaking solutions to build an #EducationWithoutRacism.

This piece is part of an empowering regional campaign inspired by the report Afro-descendant Inclusion in Education: An Anti-racist Agenda for Latin America, which raises the question of whether the discriminatory representations of Afro-descendant people in textbooks and classroom dynamics contribute to high dropout rates, limiting their options and future employment opportunities.

There are 34 million Afro-descendant school-age children in Latin America. Seven million of them are at risk of dropping out of the education system before completing primary school.

One crucial step in advancing inclusion in education is to recognize and address the factors that cause and perpetuate exclusion. The report proposes several strategies, and here are five of them:

  1. Producing racially inclusive books and teaching materials that deconstruct discriminatory conceptualizations of Afro-descendant people and represent their history and culture accurately.
  2. Recognizing and addressing structural racism, creating and expanding mechanisms to denounce and redress discrimination.
  3. Engaging the community and the school in conversations about the issue and creating more inclusive school curricula.
  4. Supporting teacher training and development programs on diversity and inclusion to create safe environments that welcome and value students by implementing a zero-tolerance policy toward discrimination.
  5. Improving the collection and analysis of data on race to establish and strengthen policies aimed at reducing educational inequity.

You can download and read the full report here.


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Cecilia Martínez Gómez

External Relations Associate

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