school kids india Paul Simpson/Flickr

La conoscenza a favore del progresso

LONDRA – Circa 236 giorni fa, un giovane governatore della Virginia ruppe gli schemi della riforma dell’istruzione. Nel suo Decreto per una maggiore diffusione della conoscenzaThomas Jefferson lanciò infatti un appello per la creazione di un “sistema d’istruzione generale” accessibile a tutti i cittadini “dai più ricchi ai più poveri”. Questo fu il primo passo verso l’attuale sistema americano di pubblica istruzione: un’istituzione in grado di incoraggiare la crescita del paese e guidarlo verso una prominenza a livello globale.

All’inizio del ventesimo secolo gli Stati Uniti erano diventati leader nell’istruzione pubblica a livello globale. Gli investimenti nel settore dell’istruzione avevano infatti catalizzato la crescita economica, favorendo la creazione di nuovi posti di lavoro ed una maggiore mobilità sociale. Come hanno dimostrato Claudia Goldin e Lawrence Katz, fu l’ “eccezionalità” americana nel settore dell’istruzione a permettere al paese di superare i paesi europei che stavano, per contro, sottoinvestendo nel capitale umano.

In vista dell’incontro dei leader mondiali al Vertice di Oslo sull’istruzione e lo sviluppo che si terrà questa settimana, la lezione che l’esperienza passata ci insegna non potrebbe essere più rilevante. Dato infatti che l’economia globale è diventata sempre più fondata sulla conoscenza, l’istruzione e le capacità degli individui sono sempre più importanti per le prospettive future. I paesi che non sono in grado di creare dei sistemi d’istruzione inclusivi si trovano infatti di fronte alla prospettiva di una crescita rallentata, ad un aumento della disuguaglianza e alla perdita di opportunità nel mercato mondiale.

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