Science 8% for education

There is an abundance of science that proves the critical role of education in development. But there is no specification of the required percentage of GDP to prepare new generations. This decision is governed by politics, not science, because the imperative to adapt to diverse national realities requires it.

Countries with large GDPs will need a much smaller proportion of their output to invest more money per student. Ireland It allocates only 3.2% of GDP to education, but it is about five times larger than GDP. So, they spend $8,823 per year per student and we spend $4,997.

The difference is that Ireland, being a comparable country in terms of population, is much wealthier, but there is no science to explain why that is. 3.2% And nothing more. If the Irish invested 8% of GDP on education, they would likely encourage waste, but average spending per student in OECD countries is $10,102 per year, also on average 4.9% of GDP. Total.

Why does Ireland, as one of the richest countries on the planet, not average out to the other members of the exclusive club? The answer lies not in science, but in the definition of public policy. The Irish discuss this as much as we do, drawing comparisons with more generous spending countries, but no one has thought to develop a scientific theory to explain the differences. A meter is a meter here or in Ireland, but 8% of GDP represents completely different things.

The Constitution of Costa Rica stipulates that 8% of GDP be invested in education because the promoters of the text considered this necessary and possible. This mandate was never implemented, and financial difficulties in recent years have reduced it to an aspiration. We can debate whether this is a valid ambition, but its scientific basis is lacking, nor is its basis for reductions in scholarships and student transfer programs, for example.

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However, science can tell us about the health impact of public investment in education policy and the consequences of cuts such as those mentioned. Both effects can be measured, and thus we find a scientific justification for the expense, not an exact determination of its amount. That is why it is troubling to hear those responsible for setting educational policy question the scientific basis for constitutional standards. The same question applies to any ministry budget, current, past or future. The question only leads to severing ties and causing us to drift.

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Armando González is the general editor of Grupo Nación and director of La Nación.

Myrtle Frost

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