El problema de la educación universal

COPENHAGUE – Dado que la fecha límite para el cumplimiento de los Objetivos de Desarrollo del Milenio se acercarápidamente, el mundo se está preparando para establecer una nueva serie de objetivos para los próximos quince años. Como los recursos son limitados, los responsables del diseño de políticas y las organizaciones internacionales deben preguntarse cómo maximizarlos De los 2.5 billones de dólares destinados a la asistencia para el desarrollo en ese periodo, y a los presupuestos de los países en desarrollo, ¿deberían dirigirse más recursos a la salud, el medio ambiente, los alimentos, el agua o la educación?

Con estas preguntas en mente, el Consenso de Copenhague (que dirijo) pidió a algunos de los principales economistas del mundo que evaluaran los costos y beneficios económicos, sociales y ambientales de muchos objetivos diferentes. La educación para todos fue una de las metas evaluadas.

Es indiscutible la importancia de la educación. El problema es que la credibilidad de la comunidad internacional para lograr la educación universal está en entredicho; ha prometido lograr esta meta en por lo menos 12 declaraciones de Naciones Unidas desde 1950. Por ejemplo, en 1961 la UNESCO prometió que para 1980, la educación primaria en África sería “universal, obligatoria y gratuita”. No obstante, al cumplirse el plazo, alrededor de la mitad de los niños en edad de estudiar la educación primaria no iban a la escuela en África.

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