Panama has experienced spectacular economic growth in recent years, but the poor quality of its public education has made it one of the most unequal countries in the world, according to a report released by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
"The knowledge of a 15-year-old student in Panama is equivalent to that of a 12-year-old student in other OECD countries. Panama has a three-year delay in schooling," said Sebastián Grandchild.
The expert said that Panama not only has to improve its educational plans and the training of its teaching staff in public schools, but also offer continuing training so that people can update their knowledge throughout their working life.
"Almost 50% of Panamanian companies have difficulty finding workers with the skills they need, while the OECD average is 38%," said Nieto during the presentation of the report "Multidimensional Study of Panama" at the headquarters of the Ministry of Economy and Finance of the Central American country.
The lack of education, he added, is the source of multiple problems that afflict the socio-economic development of the country, such as labor informality, which is around 40%, or low tax collection, which thwarts growth of social subsidies and redistribution of income.
Panama has led the region's economic growth in recent years, with average rates above 6%, which has allowed it to successfully combat poverty and extreme poverty, but continues to face "major challenges", according to the expert.