Humanity is today faced with a great many problems, individually and collectively and of course the two are interrelated.
Educational methods, which have for decades instilled values of separation and division, resulting from schooling based upon competition and conformity, must bear some of the responsibility for a world at odds with itself. A World where the pursuit of personal gain, no matter the impact, on others, on the environment or the health of our fellow citizens, has become the measure of the man on his way, the model to be aspired too, the pop idol!
The problems of education are acute and contribute to poverty throughout the world. In developing countries where chronic poverty is endemic (1) “799 million malnourished people live”, further “every day, 34,000 children under five die of hunger, or other hunger related diseases”. Basic literacy is a major issue, in (2)”Sub-Saharan Africa e.g. only 62% of the population aged 15 and above are literate”, access to schooling is limited the quality of teaching poor. Although more children than ever are now attending school, (3)‘About 72 million primary school age children and another 71 million adolescents are not at school, and on current trends, 56 million primary school age children will still be out of school in 2015.’
In the ‘developed’ world literacy is taken for granted – 98% literacy and all children having access to schooling. Poverty of the spirit, of the heart and mind however abound. Creating a culture of greed and selfishness, which denies unity, fosters intolerance and sustains the injustices which root poverty in developing countries, causing conflict and tension throughout the world.
Issues of quality and the principles of education are fundamental to the nature of our civilisation and feed into a world society currently at war with itself.(4) ‘Extreme and persistent inequalities linked to poverty, gender, ethnicity and language are holding back progress in education, wasting human potential’
Basic levels of schooling are essential, however unless the values which are promoted change, enabling the child to walk into society with a spirit of social responsibility, an attitude of tolerance of other cultures and an understanding of him/herself, then the poverty of living will continue to pollute our World, endangering lives, fracturing communities and destroying the planet. Limited value there is in sending fragmented young people into a dysfunctional society, only to uphold and perpetuate the very ideals which have brought such poverty, injustice, conflict and suffering.
The importance of education as a means, perhaps the means, of solving our difficulties is increasingly recognised. New forms of education are needed to broaden understanding of ourselves, and the world in which we live. What should any ‘new’ education look like, how should it be delivered, what should the purpose/s be? Purpose needs to be re-defined, and applied with creativity and understanding, education should be a joy for the developing child, an inspiration to self enquiry for everyone and the crucible of creative, innovative intelligence for society. True education, it could be said, is the understanding of oneself, not simply a means of producing scholars, technicians, salesmen and job hunters, as is often the case now, but integrated creative human beings, free from fear.
Unless those responsible for educational programmes are seeking to understand the workings of the self, children/students will continue to be the victim of another’s conditioned ideas and values.
We have designed frameworks for training programmes, underlying purposes and ‘teaching atmospheres’ for teachers, social/care workers and parents. We look to network/collaborate with partner, to explore ideas and design a series of far reaching training packages, to be delivered throughout the region commencing August 2010.
Creative ways of teaching and parenting, a greater understanding of our-selves and by extension of the child is fundamental to any new approach to education. Self-awareness, creative independent thinking, tolerance and understanding are key qualities to be fostered.
Interdependence and the sharing of ideas and skills, will allow educators and students to feel relaxed and free from pressure.
Self confidence based on freedom from fear and not a set of transient external achievements, will create the strength needed to build new and worthwhile lives, where social responsibility is seen to be essential and values of service, unity and tolerance are cultivated.
- World bank report 2003, from War, Racism and the Empire of Poverty When Empire Hits Home, Part 1 by Andrew Gavin Marshall
- 2005 Global Monitoring Report. UNESCO
2010 Education for All Global Monitoring Report. UNESCO
- 2010 Education for All Global Monitoring Report. UNESCO