The Latin America Campus Boom

HE LIVES in a house of cardboard and tin in Puente Piedra, a sprawling poor district on Lima’s northern fringe. His mother sells cooked food in the street; his father is a mechanic. Yet César Huamán is studying architecture at a new private university. To pay the fees of $137 a month he works on building sites during the holidays. His parents and six siblings chip in. “We all want to have a professional in the family, even if it’s only one,” says Inés, his mother.
Mr Huamán is part of a revolution in higher education in Latin America. The region has some 20m [20 million] students, more than double the number at the turn of the century. The gross enrollment rate, meaning the proportion of 18- to 24-year-olds in higher education, surged from 21% in 2000 to 43% in 2013, a faster expansion than in any other region in this period, according to a new report from the World Bank. Many of the new students are, like Mr Huamán, from hard-up families. While students from the poorer half of the population accounted for 16% of the total in 2000, in 2012 they made up 24% of the (bigger) total—an increase of 3m students from such backgrounds.

So begins a recent article from the Economist on the Latin America campus boom, which goes on to note that while educational offerings have skyrocketed (over 2,300 new schools have started), more than half of students that enroll don't finish, and that there are significant issues with cost, quality, and oversight. Read the whole thing!