The main cause for launching this project was a common concern about the trajectory of dehumanizing trends in educational policies and practice and the negative impacts of narrow minded and short-term competitive approaches seen to have detrimental effects on human societies and the environment.
We believe, that philosophers of education and educationists should jointly take action to reach educational policy makers in order to change the current educational paradigm, also taking into account different traditions from different parts of the World.
The main purpose of this particular project is to consolidate, at the international level, the efforts of thinkers on education and educationists concerned with the current state of education in order to counter the negative impacts on human flourishing. We believe that a renewal of educational values can be developed through a critical rethinking of human education and its long-term consequences, and by developing constructive ideas and proposals that are most relevant for a globalized world.
The Project has been developed by a group of leading philosophers of education being concerned about dehumanizing trends in education and significant growth of commercial and technicist approaches to it.
We believe that the views of the Dalai Lama who is the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and the author of books proclaiming humanistic positions beyond religion epitomizes a great deal of what our project values. He has spoken and written about education as a priority issue in his lectures and books and collaborated with educators over the past 20 years, especially advocating the idea of secular ethics in modern education. Due to his world-renowned reputation, we consider that his support for our project could be very welcomed, and therefore we contacted him and presented the idea of our project to him. After discussion, HH the Dalai Lama approved of the Project and in addition, has graciously accepted our invitation to participate in it.
“My hope and wish is that one day, formal education will pay attention to what I call ‘education of the heart.’ Just as we take for granted the need to acquire proficiency in the basic academic subjects, I am hopeful that a time will come when we can take it for granted that children will learn, as part of the curriculum, the indispensability of inner values: love, compassion, justice, and forgiveness”.
His Holiness the Dalai-Lama XIV
“Human Education in the 3-rd millennium”
This Project began with several philosophers of education from different countries coming together, who shared common concerns regarding some dehumanizing trends in educational policies and practices. In particular we have observed that accompanying the increasing emphasis on global economic competitiveness there is a significant growth of commercial and technicist approaches to education and a dilution of humanizing values. The significance of which have been discussed previously in the Faure et al. (1972) report to UNESCO titled Learning to Be, and to a lesser degree the Delors (1998) report titled Learning: The Treasure Within. Today these trends are observed to be increasing globally and, as far as we understand, they occur under the influence of the post-industrial technocratic-information scenario.
Current Vision of the Project Goals and Strategy
The current vision of the project is the following:
We see the need to emphasize the problem defined by philosophers and social science scholars as a neoliberal influence on educational policies. While theoretically couched in terms such as ‘freedom’ of the market, neoliberalism has morphed into monopoly capitalism (Harvey 2007) producing consequences which are perceived by some as causing ‘war’ on both education (Giroux 2014) and on democracy (Chomsky 1999; Deetz 1992; Wolin 2018), where populations are being controlled through illusions (Chomsky1989; Dinan & Miller 2007) rather than being emancipated through education.
We believe, that philosophers of education, educationists and educators should jointly take action to reach educational policy makers in order to change the current educational paradigm, taking into account different traditions from different parts of the World.
Therefore, at the globally relevant Declaration on Education, we aim to confront those contemporary trends that pose a danger to humanity, and to identify the necessary approaches to education which value love, solidarity, care, justice, cooperation, freedom, equality and diversity, and proclaims the necessary status for education in societies.
The 1st stage
The first step included the formation of the concept and initiative group. The starting point for achieving the project goal was an Initiative Roundtable conference. This involved a meeting with a small group of thinkers, including the Dalai Lama, for two days in Dharamsala, India. This meeting was intended to identify and clearly articulate the main aspects of the significantly challenging problems of our time, and establish directions that need to be developed further during the 2nd stage.
The 2nd stage
The second step includes creation of a project network, i.e. international structure of cooperation between universities and horizontal international academic relations, and collective development of an understanding of the problems of education and educational policy and the positive ideas necessary to overcome these problems on a global scale. As indicated above, this will involve a large forum of philosophers, educationists, educational policy-makers and educators, who will present workshops on all levels and forms of education in different contexts. The forum will be scheduled for 4 days. Its program will include:
1) discussion of working papers on various relevant problems, which should provide the key materials for position papers;
2) demonstration of the implementation of different pedagogical ideas during practitioners' workshops, as well as their discussion and formulation of the main problems and messages for the Declaration;
3) deliberations on the main provisions of the Declaration;
4) decisions on the forms of intervention this Declaration seeks to make for improving the educational experiences globally in terms of policy and practice in different institutions, etc. This will include identifying the challenges with the ‘translation’ of such interventions on a global scale given the current assembly work shaping national education systems and other non-formal and informal settings: education systems operate within geo-political contexts that are contingent on specific regulatory regimes, laws, political settlements and institutional orders.
The 3rd stage
The third step will include publication of materials prepared by experts, and other forum materials for theoretical support of the Declaration; the work of the Editorial Committee on the text of the Declaration; dissemination of the draft Declaration on a global scale for discussion in the established academic network and other professional and civic communities at virtual and face-to-face meetings.
After the World Forum has laid the foundation for a collective vision and decision, and the Forum's results are developed in the Draft Declaration and discussed at the global level, an international meeting of regional representatives, thinkers, educators and educational politicians will be held to develop and adopt the Declaration on human education in the third millennium.
The 4rd stage
The fourth step will include propagation of the Declaration through the project network and other channels and development of the Declaration guide that is a handbook for educators who are willing to engage in this human-oriented education.
We are planning all the main events of the project to take place in India, because India is the birthplace of great knowledge of human nature and knowledge of the possibilities and methods of moral, mental and spiritual development. Also it is particularly important that India is the country with the second highest population in the world, where the problems of developing countries can be found in all their diversity, and at the same time it is a rapidly progressing country following the democratic path of development.
Tentative dates – 2018-2023
The 1st stage – 2018-2019
The 2nd stage – 2020-2021
The 3rd stage – 2021-2022
The 4th stage 2022 - 2023