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Cómo achicar el déficit educacional de Oriente Medio

NILE DELTA – A unos casi 100 kilómetros al norte de la Plaza Tahrir en El Cairo -el epicentro del levantamiento egipcio de 2011- hay una escuela secundaria a la que los estudiantes llaman "la prisión". El edificio, una caja deformada de concreto abarrotada de aulas desvencijadas, muestra las cicatrices que han dejado el paso del tiempo y la negligencia. Un maestro en el adormilado pueblo Nile Delta bromea morbosamente y dice que hace las veces de morgue. "Nunca vimos una revolución aquí", dijo hace unos meses, sin revelar su nombre por miedo a perder su trabajo. "Mucha de la esperanza que teníamos hoy está muerta… la aniquilaron".

La crisis de las escuelas públicas de Egipto es un indicador esencial de cómo la revolución de Egipto ha decepcionado a su pueblo. Los observadores externos vieron la rebelión popular contra el régimen de Hosni Mubarak como una lucha para que la democracia se impusiera a la dictadura; los generales que nuevamente gobiernan Egipto la retratan como una lucha a favor del secularismo de la que se apropió el Islam radical. En verdad, fue una revuelta a favor de la dignidad humana, por una vida mejor para los ciudadanos comunes.

Sin educación, esa esperanza nació muerta, no sólo en Egipto sino en todo Oriente Medio. Según las Naciones Unidas, los conflictos en curso en Oriente Medio y el norte de África están dejando sin educación a más de 13 millones de niños. Pero no solamente en Siria y Yemen, países devastados por la guerra, los jóvenes son ignorados sistemáticamente; las deficiencias abundan en países relativamente estables como Egipto y Jordania.

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