Preamble

Learning is a step-by-step process which comes mainly out of direct experience and confrontation with different opinions. There is a difference between being knowledgeable and being critique about a certain topic. The first means having ownership of the notions while the latter is about having a structured and personal opinion on the matter and to have the will to defend this opinion.

My experience with Education starts from the grassroots of student activism first, and educational activism later. I was 14, too young to fully understand the positions of my student union. My learning process didn't start with readings (there were many actually, but they were not the most important source of information), but with listening what the other's have to say. Several hours every week of student meetings, listening all kind of narratives on the latest educational reforms, the need to change of the current capitalistic society.

This process continued later: I was convinced that I grasped the truth, but my certainties where suddenly challenged. My knowledge of Education gained a broader European breadth, with the years spent in OBESSU and Lifelong Learning Platform.

During all this period however, I've never had the chance to make a collection of the most relevant points of my thought. This Manifesto therefore is the first attempt to list the most important principles that, for me, future Education should follow.

The 9 principles of future Education

1. Inclusive, open and accessible

Elitist education is a logical fallacy: in modern societies state education is an essential mechanism for allowing the individuals to become citizens, scaffold the personalities and develop their knowledges. Already hundreds of years ago, in the age of Illuminism, human kind understood that  Education was the only key for future society to develop. In the 2oth Century we assisted to a progressive expansion and massification of Education: almost all European countries established mandatory primary and lower secondary schools to ensure everyone the right to education. To date, in information society era, where the majority of  professions are cognitive, an exclusive education is like going back in the past to the pre-illuminist ages. Exclusion takes place whenever education fails to recognise diversity as resourceful and it marginalises those who don't fall in a particular culture, social condition, sexual orientation, religion etc. Exclusion does also take place when education it is provided only to a limited number of people (see numerus clausus).

Unfortunately the trend Education is going in wrong direction: the right to access education is being slowly replaced by the idea of merit, meaning that only if you deserve it you can study.  There are of course several contradictions on what this merit should based on, we won't go in detail. We limit to say that whenever merit means to exclude someone from education, it goes against one of its fundamental principles.

2. Respectful with minorities, impartial, safe

Linked to the previous inclusivity principle, the equal and mutual respect of all the educational actors is the other important value to safeguard. Respect means being careful with the minorities, including disabled people and assist their needs, promoting a culture of respect for women, LGBT individuals and people with foreign backgrounds. Unless this seems quite obvious, it is not the case in many schools where certain stereotypes are still present. No educative environment must judge an individual for her/his gender, sexual orientation, cultural backgrounds, mother tongue or religion. Neither should interfere with decisions, that concern one of these things. Education must remain impartial over the personal identities and should actually allow them develop in a safe and protected environment.

3. Public-funded and free

At this very moment many national governments are wondering whether to switch the national scolarship system into something which we call

4. Right-based

5. Technology enhanced

 

6. Learner centred

Maria Montessori, Italian educator, with a large group of children from one of her "works" in Italy. (AP Photo)

Maria Montessori, Italian educator (AP Photo)

7. Research empowered

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8. Global Citizenship gym

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9. Tuned with current Labour Market

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