Educatie voor iedereen

EDINBURGH – De kans is niet heel groot dat in december 2015 de doelstelling uit de Millennium Development Goals (Millennium Ontwikkelingsdoelen, MDGs) zal zijn bereikt om ieder kind in de leerplichtige leeftijd ook daadwerkelijk naar school te laten gaan. Nu kinderen in Gaza, Syrië, Irak en Nigeria de afgelopen maanden letterlijk in de vuurlinie hebben gelegen, had de enorme omvang van het probleem niet duidelijker kunnen zijn. Het vervullen van de belofte van universele educatie vereist immers dat zelfs degenen in de moeilijkste omstandigheden, zoals kindervluchtelingen en kinderen in oorlogszones, veilig een basiseducatie kunnen verkrijgen.

Uit academisch onderzoek blijkt dat geen enkel land duurzame voorspoed kan verwezenlijken – en dat geen enkel land de zogenoemde 'middle-income trap' (de val van de middeninkomens) – kan vermijden zonder grootschalige investeringen te plegen in onderwijs van hoge kwaliteit. Dit geldt vooral voor de hedendaagse kenniseconomieën, waarin bedrijven zichzelf niet alleen op basis van hun fysieke kapitaal maar ook op grond van hun menselijke kapitaal waarderen, en waarin aandelenbeurzen naast het fysieke ook het intellectuele kapitaal op waarde proberen te schatten.

Educatie is lang beschouwd als de voornaamste garantie voor inkomen, rijkdom, status en veiligheid. Toch zijn miljoenen mensen consequent buiten beeld gebleven, en heeft bijna de helft van alle kinderen in de wereld nog steeds geen toegang tot basiseducatie.

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