Promoting secondary school retention in Latin America and the Caribbean: lessons from Mexico and Chile

Author(s): Josephson, Kimberly; Francis, Robert; Jayaram, Shubha

Organisation(s): Corporación Andina de Fomento

Date: 2018

Pages: 111 p.


This study explores lessons on reducing secondary school dropouts from Mexico and Chile and provides recommendations on how decision-makers in the region can counter this challenge. The analysis employs both primary and secondary research. It begins with a literature review to identify both endogenous and exogenous factors that contribute to dropout and shares evidence of different approaches that have been implemented as a response by education systems in the region. Four initiatives currently tackling dropout were then selected for case studies: the Construye T program and El Movimiento Contra el Abandono Escolar, “Yo No Abandono” (The Movement Against School Dropout, “I Do Not Drop Out”) in Mexico, and a national targeting system and the Aquí Presente program in Chile. Through a document review, in-depth interviews, and focus group discussions with more than 75 stakeholders in Chile and Mexico, the authors analyze how contextual, methodological, and institutional factors contribute to both success and challenges in addressing dropout. Based on the analysis, this report provides lessons and recommendations to decision-makers and practitioners including policymakers, development partners and implementers – working to reduce dropout in the region. These include an exploration of how country responses can take a gender-sensitive or gender-transformative approach.

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