Multilateral organizations are calling for improvements in education in Panama

January 30, 2024

The IDB, the World Bank, CAF and the OEI are joining efforts to support the country in strengthening and improving the quality of education.

In Panama, nearly 7 out of 10 children cannot read a simple text by the end of their primary education cycle. By the time they turn 15, 6 out of 10 adolescents still have not achieved minimum competency levels in reading, according to data from the World Bank and the 2022 PISA Test. These figures demonstrate that, despite efforts and advances made in recent decades, Panama still faces significant educational challenges. To address these challenges, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the World Bank (WB), CAF -Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean-, and the Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, Science, and Culture (OEI) are joining efforts to support the country in strengthening and improving the quality of education.

As part of their actions, they have initiated a series of meetings with presidential candidates and their technical teams, civil society, the private sector, among others; to identify synergies and areas where they can work together to overcome the education crisis.

The main goal is to combine experience, knowledge, and resources so that the country can guarantee Panamanian children, adolescents, and youth the education and skills necessary to face the challenges of the present and future.

These organizations are committed to supporting the country in key areas that contribute to improving the quality of learning and teacher training and performance, strengthening learning skills focused on literacy and mathematical logical thinking, digital transformation, and an education tailored to the needs of the labor market.

For representatives of the IDB, WB, CAF, and OEI, educational reforms require continuity, consistency, and long-term commitment. The time to act for education is now. Despite the progress made, there are still significant challenges that have deepened after the pandemic. These organizations are united and committed to supporting Panama in strengthening the quality of education. It is an effort that requires the commitment and alignment of all civil society actors, education unions, the private sector, and the Government.

As part of the initial actions, representatives from the IDB, WB, CAF, and OEI extended invitations to the presidential candidates, and met with Martín Torrijos, candidate for president by the Popular Party; José Isabel Blandón, candidate for vice president from the Democratic Change and Panameñista Party alliance; Aida Ureña de Maduro, candidate for vice president of the Independent Social Alternative Party (PAIS); Ricardo Lombana, candidate for president by the Another Way Movement (MOCA); and Richard Morales, independent candidate for vice president. In these meetings, they discussed priority challenges, identifying areas for improvement, effective strategies, and recommendations that allowed for collective reflection on the importance of ensuring that education becomes a state policy that transcends governments and generations.