Peru Lee

Educational Program

In order to keep growing, Peru needs to be more competitive. Because of that, it is essential to improve the quality of education of our professionals, technicians, and laborers. As we have seen several times, the key is education. That has become clear in the development of countries like Japan, Korea, and Singapore as well as in neighboring countries such as Chile. In addition, our spectacular performance in the last decade was due to the increase of more qualified professionals and technicians in large part because of universities and private institutes.

The importance of education for our growth has been recognized by important groups of Peruvian business owners that have bet on this by investing in this area over and over again.

Today the private investment in this area has increased to 3% of GDP the same amount that the Government invests. Because of that, 6% of the GDP is already invested in Education. Even given that, the challenges are huge. One of the challenges is the lack of the habit of reading among Peruvians which is a crucial indicator to determine the capacity and potential of our population.

The Regional Center for the Promotion of the Book in Latin America and the Carribean (a dependent organization of UNESCO) released in 2013 “a comparative study of each country of the behavior and habits of reading.” The results could not be more discouraging. The big conclusion of the report is that “half of the population in Latin America report that they don’t read books.” The country with the worst performance is Mexico, where 73% of the population doesn’t read. Then comes Peru with 65%. That is to say that only 35% of Peruvians read books. This statistic is again noted in a study by Arellano Marketing, which finds that 26% of Lima residents declare that “they have never read a book in their life” and only 1% of them would consider the possibility of buying one.

“Reading is a human creation. It’s not natural, but a social practice that changes throughout history, in each community and in each context, even though the word remains the same. What we are doing now is not the same as what we did 50 years ago or what we will do in another 50 years,” explains Daniel Cassany, a professor and investigator of the Analysis of the Speech of The University of Pompeu Fabra and author of En Linea. Reading and writing online (Anagrama)” noted in the newspaper El Pais.

If that is the case then what should we do in order to increase the social practice of reading in Peru?

First, we should note that reading is not a recognized habit in the country. Being studious and being well read is not very valued in this country. On the contrary, it is actually stigmatized and people can be made fun of for reading. As Alvaro Lasso, director of the paper Estruendomudo notes “in high schools they make it seem like reading is a negative then, there is this famous phrase ‘go to the library to read for punishment.” This situation needs to change dramatically. It’s not a coincidence that the countries with a higher habit of reading are those where being studious is extremely valued. Until that problem is fixed it will be hard to increase our reading levels.

It’s vital that people understand that reading will lead to success.