Escuelas de desarrollo

El 21 de septiembre de 1832, en el Franklin Hall de Boston, la primera mujer americana que pronunció una conferencia en público, Maria Stewart, escandalizó a la ciudad al ponerse en pie y hablar. ¿Qué la movió a transgredir las normas sociales y el decoro tan descaradamente? "Hijas de África, ¡despertad! ¡Alzaos!", gritó, al tiempo que pedía que los Estados Unidos impartieran instrucción a las niñas negras.

Como con tanta frecuencia suele ocurrir, nuestros antepasados estaban en lo cierto. Si la Sra. Stewart, que era, a su vez, afroamericana, hubiese sabido lo que nosotros sabemos hoy sobre el desarrollo, su petición habría sido ahora la misma que entonces. Todos los testimonios de investigaciones académicas y normativas que hemos acumulado en los 30 últimos años, toda la experiencia de nuestras medidas en pro del desarrollo, confirman lo que nuestros adelantados predecesores sabían de forma innata: impartir instrucción a todos nuestros niños -pobres, ricos, blancos, negros, niños, niñas- significa tener niños más sanos, familias más resistentes, economías más prósperas y democracias con mayor vitalidad.

Si preguntamos a los dirigentes de las economías de los "tigres" del Asia sudoriental su secreto para el desarrollo rápido, nos dirán lo mismo: por encima de todo, invertimos en nuestros ciudadanos. En su forma más básica, en eso consiste el desarrollo: invertir en las personas y su bienestar.

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