¿La panacea de la educación?

Mucha gente ve la educación como una panacea, en la creencia de que es posible transformar las sociedades invirtiendo dinero para elevar los estándares educativos. Sin embargo, si bien es correcto creer en el poder de la educación –de hecho, muchos académicos consideran que crea ciudadanos más sanos y prósperos- ese entusiasmo no nos dice cómo hacer para que más niños vayan a la escuela por más tiempo ni cómo asegurar que aprendan habilidades útiles mientras están en ella.

Hoy en día, prácticamente todos los niños y adolescentes de América Latina y el Caribe entran a la escuela primera y la mayoría completa varios años de secundaria, lo que es un notable avance si se compara con hace medio siglo. Sin embargo, aprenden menos habilidades en cada año escolar que los estudiantes de los países de altos ingresos, e incluso que otros países en desarrollo. Los niños indígenas tienen una probabilidad significativamente menor de tener éxito en la escuela. Guatemala, Haití, Honduras, Nicaragua y Paraguay están detrás de incluso otros países latinoamericanos.

A pesar del entusiasmo generalizado por mejorar el rendimiento educacional en América Latina y el Caribe, se han hecho pocos esfuerzos por determinar cómo aprovechar mejor las inversiones en educación. ¿Cuáles son las políticas que funcionan mejor?

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