Krassimir Stojanov - I, 4. II.

From Human Education in the 3rd Millennium

(University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt, Eichstaett, Germany)

4) To what degree is education a shared and global responsibility?

1. The responsibility for and the governance of education is usually understood as an exclusive prerogative of the particular national states. According to this understanding, it is up to the single state to provide its citizens with access to education and to build up its own educational system.


2. However, this understanding contradicts the status of education as a universal human right which is to be granted for everyone in an equal way, and independently of her or his nationality or citizenship.


3. Indeed, nowadays we are witnessing a growing awareness that there is a global responsibility for education. An indication for this is the UN-Sustainable Development Agenda, in which “education” figures as “Goal 4”. However, the considerations on that goal in the Agenda are quite one-sided, for they spell out education solely in terms of “effective learning outcomes”, that is, as a tool for achieving certain social, economic and ecological goals.


4. But education has also an intrinsic value, for it is in itself a process of human flourishing. When children are excluded from this intrinsic dimension of education, when it is reduced for them to vocational training, they are deprived from the realization of their own human potential, ultimately of their human dignity.


5. In this respect particularly alarming is the educational situation of young refugees and immigrants, who are in most cases subjected to educational exclusion, segregation and stigmatization in the countries, in which they immigrated. The overcoming of the educational discrimination of immigrant children must be seen as an urgent task of the global community.

6. This task, in general the demand of overcoming global educational inequalities should be spelled out primarily in terms of educational justice. Thus, we should discuss the question, how global education policy players like the UN or UNESCO could be motivated to include the term “educational justice” in their educational agendas.



SUPPLEMENT to the Topics

„Policy“ (I)

and “Democracy” (II)


'(Global) Educational Justice as a Central Aim of Democratic Education Policy


I believe that (global) educational justice should be a central theme for us, which is centrally linked to several subtopics of the rubrics “Policy” and “Democracy” of the “Human Education in the 3rd Millennium Roundtable/ Conference”. That is why I think that the concept of educational justice should gain the status of an explicit focus of the Roundtable.

When trying to determine what (global) educational justice is about, we are dealing also with questions of educational equality, and in particular with the question

- “Equality of What?”

– Equality of educational outcomes?

– Equality of educational resources?

– Equality of educational opportunities?

– Or, perhaps, equality of educational treatment?


With regard to the actual state of art in the academic discourse on educational justice we can distinguish between three different dimensions of that concept, namely


(a) Educational justice as fair distribution educational resources


(b) Educational justice as enabling of everyone’s social and political participation


(c) Educational justice as realization of relational democratic equality in and through education


Ad (a): According to Ralws’ approach to justice as fairness which Brighouse/ Swift recently applied to the domain of education, educational resources should be distributed in favor of children who are disadvantaged by their socialization and by the economic and social status of their parents. This imperative applies not only to national, but also to global contexts of education.


Ad (b): The central normative demand here is that everyone should receive an education that should enable her or him to reach a threshold of abilities which would allow him or her actively to participate in the (global) society (Gutmann), or/and to live a life in dignity (Nussbaum). However, educational inequalities above that threshold are not an issue for that understanding of educational justice.


Ad (c): The central imperative of educational justice as relational democratic equality (Anderson) is that no one should be subjected to discrimination, oppression and exclusion and that everyone should be enabled to resist discrimination, oppression and exclusion. On the background of this understanding, the so called “epistemic injustice” (Fricker) appears as the most clear opposite of educational justice. Epistemic injustice takes place in educational institutions, when they exclude or underestimate the experiences and the beliefs of “non-western”, lower class, or culturally marginalized students, and when they do not recognize particular potentials and abilities of those students.


It is obviously that the normative demands for education that (a), (b) and (c) entail, have a direct global impact. Hence, we should discuss the question, how global education policy players like UNO or UNESCO could be motivated to include the term “educational justice” in their educational agendas.