The role of education in development according to equity and efficiency


Education is, for Rawls, one of the major foundations of society, in particular with moral education which guarantees social cohesion. A principle of reparation must be applied with regard to the less favored categories.

Rawls imagined that the individuals of a society, all placed… : “we must seek to give the most disadvantaged the assurance of their own value, [because] this limits the forms of hierarchy and the degrees of inequality that justice authorizes” It may be desirable to agree to make less productivity gains in favor of an increase in “self-respect”. Indeed, the rules and principles of the basic structure should not lead to a distribution of”educational resources in whole or in part according to their result according to productivity criteria, but also according to their value in enriching the social and personal life of citizens, including the most disadvantaged” . As the economy develops, an increasing share of the gains thus obtained must be devoted to an education aimed primarily at satisfying this objective. “As a society progresses, [explains Rawls], this last consideration becomes more and more important

Rawls raises the problem of the education of children coming from “various religious sects [which] oppose the modern world and wish to lead their common life away from its undesirable effects  to ensure that when they become adults, their membership of this religious sect will not be based on ignorance of their basic rights or fear of punishment for crimes that do not do not exist”

Moral education is essential to ensure the cohesion of society, and Rawls will insist on its role on many occasions in his book Justice as Fairness

In particular, 56-57,123,146,148,156,157,162 and 173.. He believes that “when the time comes everyone will know why he adopts the principles of justice and how they are derived from the conditions which characterize his being an equal being in a company of moral persons. It follows that in accepting these principles on such a basis we are not influenced first by tradition and authority or by the opinion of others”

ensure equal opportunity for achievement and culture to those who are similarly gifted” . Rawls gives the following explanation:”The degree to which natural capacities develop and mature is affected by all sorts of social conditions and class attitudes. Even the disposition to make an effort, to try to be deserving, in the ordinary sense, is dependent happy family and social circumstances” (TJ, 104-105).

9Rawls considers that the basic structure of society, and consequently the educational and university institutions, should be organized “so that these [social and natural] contingencies work for the good of the most disadvantaged” (TJ, 132). “Those who have been favored by nature, whoever they may be, can take advantage of their luck only on condition that it improves the situation of the less fortunate”


11Freedom of access to education is essentially for Sen a constitutive and instrumental freedom, opening access to new individual freedoms, before being a factor favoring economic development. Sen studies the methods of granting, to the most disadvantaged, aid which contributes to limiting inequalities in the area of ​​capabilities.

12Free access to education is presented by A. Sen as one of the political and social freedoms which, along with freedom of participation or expression and the right to health, are “constituent elements of development” (15 ). To illustrate this constitutive role of education, A. Sen imagines two individuals who have received the same education, one will have become more productive and his income will have increased; the other who has not benefited from an increase in his income “will nevertheless take advantage of this advantage in other forms, through reading, the ability to communicate, to argue, to inform himself, to ‘to be taken seriously … “(292). Unquestionably, education will have increased what Rawls called self-respect, that most important primary good. Free access to education also appears as an instrumental freedom, making it possible to increase capacities and other freedoms, which are essential for human development.

Rawls estimated, education for A. Sen, allows the individual to become more autonomous and to widen the field of his freedoms; this author deplores that “a child who has no access to any form of schooling suffers a deprivation which lasts throughout his life (activities, even the most elementary ones which suppose that one knows how to read, write and count, will be forbidden to him)” (282-283). Thanks to education, autonomy, and correlatively, dependence on others is reduced; for Sen, “this dependence on others is not only reprehensible from an ethical point of view, it is also a real attack on the spirit of initiative and individual effort, even a negation self-esteem” (282).

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