|The learning we want: outcomes of the CONCORD/Civicus roundtable, June 18 2012|
|Written by Chiara Tripepi|
|Tuesday, 19 June 2012 12:33|
"The learning we want"
CONCORD/Civicus round table on education at the Rio+20 People's Summit- June 18 2012
While 1000s of delegates are stuck in endless negotiations in an over-airconditioned conference centre at the Rio+20 UN conference on sustainable development, civil society shows at the alternative People's Summit in downtown Rio that the future we want is actually not exactly the one outlined in the latest draft of the summit outcome text. CONCORD and Civicus (the World alliance for Citizen Partipation), with the support of DEEEP, chose the People's Summit in order to engage a discussion on the role of education for a more just and sustainable world. In front of a beautiful beach scenery, a small but distinguished group of panellists and guests underlined the paramount role of education to overcome the current unsustainable model of how the world is functioning, and confronted views on how to achieve this.
Key messages included
- Education has to be based on a holistic approach to human development. The "formation of the heart is as important as the formation of the mind", as Bishop Theotonius Gomes from Bangladesh put it. A purely utilitarian approach to education, focussing on employability and individual skills development, has to be completed through valuing community.
- Implementation of pedagogical reforms towards learning for a just and sustainable world should be implemented through reforms in the state schooling system: "It is the role and responsibility of the state to assure quality global learning within the formal education system", said Rilli Lappalainen from CONCORD, referring to the comparatively successful Finnish model of education, based on free and equal access and high quality of teacher training. Private schools can be useful to showcase alternative pedagogies, but reforms in the state schooling system are essential in order to streamline global learning through the whole society.
- NGOs have also to be self-critical: "We say we can change the world – but are we actually delivering?" asked Katsuji Imata from CIVICUS. Consciously, or unconsciously, Civil Society organisations would follow a cooperate model, defining "success" through criteria like media visibility or fundraising levels, instead of real impact for change, and with a lot of competition within the sector.
- NGOs should use the system in order to introduce innovations, for example through market mechanism, but also question the current, dominant system. Javier Collado from the Latin-American association "Education for Life" suggested that we should reinvent society through practice which is flexible and radical at the same time.
- Learning, and in particular schooling, should not be about becoming successful in life – as it is the current focus – but becoming happy and human, as one participant put it.
Bishop Gomes underlined that charity would more than a sentimental or philanthropic relation between a powerful giver and grateful receiver. Social justice could start with giving to the poor, but this giving should also include giving them rights. Secondly, the poor should be recognised as actors as well, not only as receives of goods and rights. In a third step, a community between rich and poor should lead to common action. And fourthly, the rich would also need to learn from the poor.
Questioned on the success of faith based organisations like the Egyptian Muslim brothers, who reinforce their political work through credibility gained by grassroots charity activities, Rilli Lappalainen said that NGOs would tent to focus on one big idea and forget the rest, while a strategic and thought through combination of different practices and approaches, such as political work, grassroots charity and educational work would be most promising.
The audience, who participated continuously and actively in the discussion, was composed of a broad range of different people, including a representative of the Brasilian Ministry of Education, a teacher unionist from France, a Brazilian Student and a Portuguese human rights activist.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 June 2012 13:37|