In 2010 the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) proposed a comprehensive development strategy entitled Time for equality: closing gaps, opening trails (ECLAC, 2010). From a rights-based perspective, development is treated as an indivisible, rights-based process in which synergies are created between a macroeconomy that pushes back the frontiers of growth as an engine of employment and social inclusion; productive development that drives greater convergence between sectors and labour-market stakeholders to create a more diversified, innovation- and knowledge-intensive production matrix; a territorial matrix that links territories and narrows gaps in both production and well-being; a focus on social rights aimed at employment protection, the promotion of decent work, redistributive public transfers and the expansion of social safety nets; and a fiscal covenant that creates public policy space for promoting productive development with greater social equality by expanding and restructuring the tax burden.
We talk about equality because what is at stake in the proposal is not just equal access but also equal ownership of rights. An integral approach not only seeks equal opportunities for skill development but also strives for clear public policies on employment and productive development as a way to reduce the tremendous segregation in these sphere that has marked the Latin American and Caribbean region's recent past. The region's structural heterogeneity a subject often addressed by ECLAC and revisited in contemporary terms in Time for equality) generates productivity gaps that in turn open up divides in access to labour rights, well-being, fair wages, a political voice, symbolic recognition and information.
This edition of Social Panorama looks at the links in the chain of inequalities identified in Time for equality that concern the education and skills development stage of the life cycle. A substantial portion of this edition, then, deals with the youth and child population and considers how differences created and consolidated during this stage of life entrench the intergenerational reproduction of poverty and inequality. The focus is on the life cycle and on the reproduction of unequal opportunities for sustainable social mobility over an individual's lifetime. From this viewpoint, the document examines the situation of the population aged 0-29 and its internal dynamics, future prospects and ties to other age groups.
Accordingly, this edition of Social Panorama pinpoints gaps in educational attainment and learning during the formative years, highlighting the need for the State to play a more significant role and for public transfers to narrow these gaps. It also examines how socioeconomic background helps perpetuate inequality in education on the supply side. A structural, integral approach for achieving equality such as ECLAC is proposing as a road map for development in the region is not enough to close these gaps in skills and learning.