Bombas, libros y dólares

La ley "complementaria de emergencia" que prevé 82 mil millones de dólares para financiar las operaciones militares estadounidenses en Irak y Afganistán colocan a Estados Unidos como un país que gasta más en poder militar que lo que se requiere anualmente para permitir que cada niño en el mundo reciba en una década tanto educación primaria como secundaria. Claramente, el punto no es si la educación universal es asequible sino si Estados Unidos y el resto del mundo pueden permitirse prescindir de los beneficios políticos, económicos, sociales y de salud que conlleva el educar a alrededor de 380 mil millones de niños en todo el planeta que actualmente no asisten a la escuela.

La educación, no menos que el poder militar, es un imperativo de seguridad porque ayuda al mundo -tanto a los individuos como a las sociedades- a escapar de las consecuencias de la pobreza, del rápido crecimiento demográfico, de los problemas ambientales y de las injusticias sociales. La educación fortalece el capital social y cultural, lo que contribuye a crear instituciones fuertes y estables. Mejora la salud humana, aumenta la esperanza de vida y disminuye las tasas de fertilidad. Aparte de estos beneficios obvios, la educación también es una obligación humanitaria ampliamente reconocida y un derecho humano consagrado a nivel internacional.

Pero este derecho es irrealizable para el 28% de los niños del mundo en edad escolar, los cuales no van a la escuela. La mayoría son analfabetos y viven en la pobreza absoluta. La mayor parte son niñas. De aquéllos que inician la escuela primaria en los países en desarrollo, más de uno de cuatro la deja antes de aprender a leer y escribir. Además, la inscripción no necesariamente significa asistencia, la asistencia no necesariamente significa educación y la educación no necesariamente significa buena educación.

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