Talk:Topics for the Initial Roundtable Conference

From Human Education in the 3rd Millennium


COMMENTS ON Topics for the Initial Roundtable Conference “Human Education in the 3-rd Millennium”

I. POLICY (Educational reforms: what modern educational policy really means? What educational policy should contain in order to provide what people and their societies need)

- The session on policy should also engage with critical scholarship that has brought into focus how a ‘global epistemic community’ has influenced education policy in different countries, leading to ‘policy borrowing’ and the process of ‘internationalisation’ that has pushed back critical agendas specific to countries and regions. Through specific country examples, the intimate link between policy, societal needs and educational practice can be highlighted and explored. - Poonam Batra (Department of education, University of Delhi)

1) Market, network and state models of education. Different education governance models, and how they do and do not endure that the public interest is protected - It is important to acknowledge that the lines between public (state or government provided/operated) and private (market provider) education have been blurred by the emergence of hybrid models. – Randall Curren (University of Rochester, USA)

- Is the combination of market and humanistic values possible as a basis to determine the meaning guidelines for the development of modern education? - Alla Tryapitsyna (Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia)

- How market-based reforms have created major shifts in the purposes of education. - Poonam Batra (Department of education, University of Delhi)

- The role of understanding education as a common universal good for all educational models- Alla Tryapitsyna (Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia)

The risk of reducing the education model to models in the human capital policy for me is the most serious risk! And although I support the understanding of human capital as a special case, but to reduce a person to capital is to turn him into a thing and follow the logic of accumulation.

Therefore, my tough thesis: politically, when creating education reforms, we should move from a human capital model to a human potential model.

It is necessary to clearly understand that man is a creature living in the world of networks, but also generating other networks. In this sense, Latour’s actor-network theory as well as Luhmann’s theory, no matter how conflicting they may be, in different respects say: "Truth is in the middle." We need to find the truth. - Alexander Asmolov (Moscow State University)

2) How should we understand the relationships between education and work? The limitations of neoliberal models and education policy focused on economic production. Tendencies for education to be incorporated into the interests of global and cognitive capitalism and neoliberalism, so that technical skills and capacities (eg for 'entrepreneurialism') are played up and human qualities and human understandings are neglected.

- This may require specific country experiments – say, during processes of decolonization/post-colonisation that may have failed for several reasons but need to be revisited and learnt from.- Poonam Batra (Department of education, University of Delhi)

- This is a postcolonial development to begin with in the Indian context. The Nehruvian push for industrialization and ‘catching up’ with the rest of the developed world, the decline of Gandhi’s perspective on education, the movement away from small-scale industry, manual labour to mechanization, and capitalist forms of development has resulted in the kind of competitive and hugely self-centred forms of education that go against the grains of human education. Perhaps we may also focus therefore on the contribution of an economic production model of social development on the development of education policy and on the goals and practice of education per se. - Meenakshi Thapan (Institute of economics, University of Delhi)

3) Dangerous trends (How contemporary dangerous trends for humanity are met by education? or - How education may lead to threats and risks to existing dominant life forms, especially the manmade disasters? Matters of ecology as matters for the whole of society and for all of education, for research, for programmes of study in all disciplines and for educational institutions, not least in their use of scarce resources. A caring attitude towards nature and an understanding of nature as a living co-world, Mitwelt as needed contribution into a change of human mentality.

- Need to first problematize the understanding of these trends and how educational arrangements have in some ways perpetuated these. - Poonam Batra (Department of education, University of Delhi)

- (There are) dangerous trends and challenges of the Anthroposcene, in which the humans increasingly determine the destiny of the planet. Dangerous trends and challenges of the Anthroposcene, in which the humans increasingly determine the destiny of the planet. Cristoph Wulf (Berlin, Germany)

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

5) Social world (Which world do we build by today’s education?)

Need to bring back classic debates and reflections (emanating from philosophical thinking) on the relationship between education and the kind of society we want. Some examples are Dewey’s ideas on democracy and education; Tagore, Gandhi, Aurobindo etc on decolonizing education - Poonam Batra (Department of education, University of Delhi)

I think this needs to be discussed in the context of different societies and cultural worlds. Social worlds are heterogenous and diverse and perhaps we may bring in this element in our discussion. -

Meenakshi Thapan (Institute of economics, University of Delhi)

the basis of any modern education should be the idea of universal (universal) values. They will need to be clarified, lead to a general consensus and accept as a basis. Among the first should be called the value of human life and, accordingly, personal dignity, respect for which is unconditional.

The second prerequisite for any possible dialogue is the unity and value of the common human space of communication, whether in the field of information and the media, whether on the scale of the planet Earth.

This idea underlies the discourse of globalization, as well as interconnection and interdependence. -

Goulnara Khaidarova (N. G. Kuznetsov Naval Academy, Saint Petersburg, Russia)

II. DEMOCRACY (Why is public participation in matters of education important? And how can it be ensured?)

6) The role of technocratic cultures and elites as drivers of education governance. - The role of technocratic cultures and elites to the system maintenance and reproduction of key governance roles, spaces and practices and, consequently, the diminishing effects of democracy and citizen participation as drivers of education - Andrew Wilkins (University of East London, UK) - education governance increasingly monopolized by knowledge brokers and consultants drawn from the technical-managerial middle classes) - Andrew Wilkins (University of East London, UK)

- It is safe to assume that educational systems will not provide what people and their societies need in order to flourish without widespread democratic governance or oversight of education. This is true, whether or not markets play a substantial role in providing education. – Randall Curren (University of Rochester, USA)

There are still important risks that colleagues highlight: the risks of technocracy for democracy. Technocratic models lead to increase in person’s manipulation and lead to the fact that a person is considered as a resource, as a tool, as an instrument. And thus, the formula of Ignatius Layolla emerges behind them: the end justifies the means.

And this formula leads to the next step for technocratic models: everything tends to be standardized, unified, so we come to the main problem - depersonalization. Beyond it there is the phenomenology of depersonalization that is the phenomenology of the loss of personality.

Many now do not see this, and therefore all models reduce to the ideal of rationality.

But we live in a world of uncertainty. The ideology of rational choice is one of the possibilities to which the diversity of human life, human existence is not reduced. - Alexander Asmolov (Moscow State University)

7) Identification and acknowledgement of the inherent tension between democracy and neoliberalism.

- And understanding education as a critical site for developing a democratic social order - Poonam Batra (Department of education, University of Delhi)

8) How to bring education matters to a wider, non-technical audience or group of stakeholders so that citizens can participate directly in matters of public interest?

9) Empowering young people and adults to be as critically engaged citizens.

-  We may consider bringing in the perspective of the challenges to empowering young people to be critically engaged citizens. The rhetoric of nationalism and right-wing politics in many societies does not enable the development or nurturance of critical pedagogy. SO the question is of countering such regressive ideogies that seem overwhelmingly present in different societies around the world. - Meenakshi Thapan (Institute of economics, University of Delhi)

10) Autonomy of the educational system. How realistic is it? To what degree is it essential?

- Autonomy is the preferred word in all Educational Policy Reforms: they are giving "autonomy" to the cities, to the schools, to the teacher. What in fact they are saying is "you take care" Autonomy today in the reforms means "less money for education”. - Walter Kohan (University of Rio de Janeiro)

- Autonomy OF education - by this I mean not autonomy as an ideal of education, but the need for self-determination of the educational system, that is, the right of teachers not to be manipulated “from above”, but to stick to one’s own (mostly critical) position. - Margarita Kozhevnikova (Saint Petersburg, Russia)

- Autonomy is a freedom to ideate and practice in institutional spaces. - Namita Ranganathan, Vikas Baniwal (Department of education, University of Delhi)

- Autonomy is essential, a foundational principle-- if we can say such things! For me activation of this principle happens by way of art, both the encounter with and the production of art. I remain committed to the old idea of Bildung, education as the art of living/self-cultivation. - Eduardo M. Duarte (Hofstra University. New York, USA)

– I do not think we should ask for autonomy in education. For large countries like India, it will mean no state support and India is an enormous country with a huge population and who will provide education then? - Meenakshi Thapan (Institute of economics, University of Delhi)

11) The specific role of the universities, particularly in their research and in academics becoming 'public intellectuals' - in their powers to reach out into society and help to advance the public sphere and improve the extent of rational decision-making in society.

- We need to bring into focus the ‘content’ of education as well; especially ideological debates and the intensification of patriarchy, protectionism, white supremacy that challenges the world today and how these are perpetuated through school and higher education curriculum and through a concerted focus on altering popular consciousness about history of specific regions. - Poonam Batra (Department of education, University of Delhi)

III. BEING HUMAN (Is there a need to remember or to discover human nature as the basis of human education?)

- The need to look at cultural roots of education – such as links communities have had with nature that has facilitated civilisations to survive in harmony with nature/environment and how these are threatened by the ‘economic growth’ /’development model; and how this trajectory of development is sustained through a ‘modern system ‘ of education that is being reformed by the neo-liberal agenda only to strengthen it further. - Poonam Batra (Department of education, University of Delhi)

12) Being human. (What does it mean to be human specifically? How should education correspond these specific human features?)

- (We should discuss) human nature in secular or universal, not religious terms. – Meenakshi Thapan (University of Delhi) - (We need to discuss) the aesthetic dimention of human nature. - Namita Ranganathan, Vikas Baniwal (Department of education, University of Delhi) - (We need) to rely on modern research in various fields of science and the humanities that study man in order to put this knowledge into the basis of modern pedagogy – Alla Tryapitsyna (Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia)

13) Human identities, diversity (How can diversity be protected and preserved in the context of globalized standardized education?)

I agree with those who talk about the importance of diversity. And I am pursuing the ideology that is attuned to these texts: the ideology of variable education, the variability - the ability to generate variations and live in a world of variations. - Alexander Asmolov (Moscow State University)

14) Reconsidering aims of education: the concepts of 'wellbeing', 'happiness', human 'flourishing' in the role of aims and their implications for the modern mentality. What are the alternatives? –

- For ‘happiness’ I have my reservations as it has been taken over and standardized for utilitarian purposes. Both happiness and love are avowed goals of " instrumental education" as well, and their conceptualization is quite problematic. These two are very much listed on the neoliberal agenda. - Kulwinder Kaur (Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi, India)

- Need to safeguard ourselves from falling into the trap of creating ‘happiness curriculum’ etc to alter aims of education and in this process let mainstream neoliberal thinking and policy continue to strengthen the dominant, without touching the core that needs to change. Should desist efforts at adding on new ideas to curriculum, such as ‘disaster management’, peace and conflict’, happiness curriculum etc. Need to problematize the core that is anti-thetical to a humane society and target that towards change. - Poonam Batra (Department of education, University of Delhi)

Very important is the sharp distinction between happiness and well-being. Actually, these are different reference systems. A person can be prosperous, but at the same time he is unhappy. This is evidenced by a phenomenon called the Martin Eden Phenomenon. Death on the crest of success. The man has everything, but as Jack London describes, he ends his life when he is safe, but deeply unhappy. This existential struggle between well-being and happiness should be clearly reflected.

And when I consider what “being human” is, I consider two cultures: the culture of utility and the culture of dignity. In the culture of utility, we find ourselves at the mercy of utilitarian goals, and well-being is justified there. It is justified everywhere, but how to be with dignity?! This culture of dignity, for which the semantic understanding of a person, which I introduce into education. The system of motivational and value installations, coming from Vygotsky, provides the answer to these questions. - Alexander Asmolov (Moscow State University)

15) Inner values (Why and how should inner values, such as empathy, love and caring, cooperation, solidarity, justice, compassion and wisdom be part of the educational curriculum?)

I do not know how inner sounds in Indian language, maybe it is different but it is a dualistic word in "our" languages". - Walter Kohan (University of Rio de Janeiro)

- If the term "inner life" is wrong, how best to express it? I mean that we must emphasize the importance of resistance to activism and total external socialization, manipulative outeriorisation occurring for a person. This means that an active social position must manifest itself from within (through interactions, but from within) as its own mature decision. At least, for this we need to protect this “from the inside.” Again, this is resistance to becoming fully manageable. - Margarita Kozhevnikova (Saint Petersburg, Russia)

- (We need) to introduce ‘compassion’ in social science language. - Savyasaachi Savyasaachi (Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi, India)

- The value of compassion as a universally accepted value. Human education ought to strive towards inculcating this value. I, however, am not very comfortable with ‘love’. I suggest it be removed as love can be very subjective and individual. - Kulwinder Kaur (Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi, India)

- Yes, we may bring these in but I find love a somewhat vague concept, as I pointed out during our meeting in Delhi. I think because of its popular usage, it does not carry the right connotations. And I do not think we should include this as a value. -  Meenakshi Thapan (Institute of economics, University of Delhi)

16) Valuing peace (Does education teach through hidden curriculum, etc. peace or warlike attitudes, negative perception of others, violence and its base, which are injustice, exclusion, etc.? How can education realistically advance peace, global cooperation, and respect for human rights in the face of conflict, exclusion, competing national interests? )

- The base of violence are injustice, exclusion, etc. – Walter Kohan (University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

- Conflict resolution and peace are important tasks of education. About 15000 atomic bombs threaten the planet. War is a challenge to humankind. Manifest violence makes education impossible. Not only manifast violence, but also structural and symbolic violence threaten peaceful social and cultural conditions. The future of humankind is threatened by violence; it needs an engagement for non-violent forms of conflict resolution and peace development in education. Peace is not only a task, which has to be developed in the minds of the individuals, but also a global social and cultural task. - Cristoph Wulf (Berlin, Germany)

- I could also address this point in my presentation, of developing a school culture that values all the above points and is concerned about ‘value’ as practice, and not a mere idea. - Meenakshi Thapan (Institute of economics, University of Delhi)

17) Being human in relations with other living beings (Role, position, and place of other beings in human society as a matter for education)

18) Posthuman perspectives (What does posthuman future introduce into today’s education? In face of the end of humans and environmental crisis. Technocratization as a problem for education. Being human in a digital age. The possibilities, limitations, threats/ challenges of human education in a digital age).

- (We need to discuss) how the youth are educated to live a technological life, to be parts of data networks. – Timo Airaksinen (Helsinki University, Finland)

- Can a human-centered education exist online? – Alla Tryapitsyna (Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia)

- I do not see posthumanism as a threat, quite the contrary it might be very positive. - Walter Kohan (University of Rio de Janeiro)

IV. PEDAGOGY (What might a human-centered education look like?)

- How existing systems of education reproduce divisiveness and hierarchies in society. For instance, how models of teacher education ‘disempower’ teachers, rather than empower them to exercise agency in classrooms and schools and policy making.- Poonam Batra (Department of education, University of Delhi)

19) Traditional understandings of education. Different perspectives then and now around how we understand human education in the different traditions: North and South, East and West (pedagogical influence of geo-politics of knowledge and education)

- Pedagogical influence of geo-politics of knowledge and education) for the knowledges of the North to be privileged at the expense of the knowledges of the South. (not only in countries with indigenous populations.) – Ronald Barnett (London Institute of Education, England)

20) Equality not as an aim but as a principle of education. - Modern vision of accessibility of education (should it be a mass school “for all” and for nobody? Or a differentiated “elite education” for everyone and for all? - Alla Tryapitsyna (Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia)

21) The role of alterity for education as such (Teaching and studying an understanding and coping with alterity. A comprehensive relationship with the other). - To teach to respect all and listen to the 'other' - Savyasaachi Savyasaachi (Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi, India)

- Yes, this needs to be carefully developed and examined. - Meenakshi Thapan (Institute of economics, University of Delhi)

22) Different kinds of knowledge in education: scientific knowledge, personal knowledge body-knowledge, practical knowledge, aesthetic knowledge; tacit or implicit knowledge.

- the relationship between scientific knowledge and wisdom - Cristoph Wulf (Berlin, Germany)

- How knowledge itself is getting marginalized and only specific kind of knowledges are projected as legitimate for a 21st century world, rendering human agency irrelevant. Debates on the politics of knowledge. - Poonam Batra (Department of education, University of Delhi)

23) Education and thinking (Is it possible / desirable / needed to teach to think? Learning to think by oneself with others. Philosophical dialogue, childhood, a new philosophy in education.) Education for wisdom (inquiry learning; judgment; understanding; the role of critical thinking; empathic moral inquiry in education).

- forgotten knowledge of wisdom. The rediscovery of wisdom as a comprehensive form of knowledge may help to realize the necessary change in the mentalities of human beings. - Cristoph Wulf (Berlin, Germany)

- How the power of reason is being undermined in preference for popular identities and desires; distorting the idea of entitlement and rights. - Poonam Batra (Department of education, University of Delhi)

24) Cultural learning

- Cultural learning is mimetic learning. Mimetic learning is learning through creative imitation; this is an active process, which creates things anew. Cristoph Wulf (Berlin, Germany)

- If education differs in different cultures and traditions, then what should unite Modern education? - Alla Tryapitsyna (Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia)

25) How humanity can survive under the circumstances, where the humanities are disregarded and departments and programmes in the humanities are being closed? The place of the humanities vis-a-vis science and technology (so-called STEM disciplines).

26) Education as experiential: self-transformation, self-development, self-formation.

27) Agonistic pedagogy and other approaches. The oppressed and education for emancipation (intellectual, i.e. individual; social; political).

- Education as a means to interrogate domination and exploitation in societies; and a means to develop inner resilience and a sense of social justice. - Poonam Batra (Department of education, University of Delhi)

28) Education as a development of sense and attitude of personal universal responsibility (maturity)

- "Universal responsibility" for me is really inconvenient in both senses of universal and also of responsibility... it assumes a kind of world that does not exist... .. And responsibility as autonomy is a word power loves... it is always understood and lack of commitment... it is not a word of the people... – Walter Kohan (University of Rio de Janeiro)

- I imply not imputed responsibility but freely taken care about anything in the world. If I have this attitude, why it does “not exist”? “Universal” is not a category of universals, it is something specific, concrete, but common for us as people or for us as inhabitants of this Earth. The meaning is the same as that of Ernst Hemingway in his title “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. In fact, this is what motivates you and me to do this very project. – Margarita Kozhevnikova (Saint Petersburg, Russia)

29) Education, friendship, love.

30) Modern moral education (What are the limits and optimal methods of moral education?)

- What do we mean by ‘moral’ education in contemporary society? What does it mean to be moral and how can this be developed in educational institutions ? Meenakshi Thapan (Institute of economics, University of Delhi)

- Engaging with human values in the context of progressive Constitutions of different countries that focus of equality, liberty and fraternity; and reflecting on the dangers of using ‘local knowledges’ projected as culture, to develop frameworks of ‘human values’ based on ‘religion’ or/and ‘social norms and behaviour’ - Poonam Batra (Department of education, University of Delhi)

31) The role (for a human-centered education) of imagination; of sensory, emotional, moral feelings; of inner experience, particularly of empathy; development of reflexive and contemplative experience.

32) New educational forms of life other than formal schooling and other educational institutions, not dominated by chronological order, performativity, efficientization. The aims and means of various forms of education as practiced throughout history and in various contexts, will be discussed and critically evaluated.

33) The problem of time for education (Chronological versus aionic and kairotic time. Teaching and giving time. Teaching in the present. School and free-time)