(slightly edited transcriptions)
Participants: Bob Lingard, Poonam Batra, Meenakshi Gopinath, Christoph Wulf, Scott Webster, Geshe Lhakdor, John Weaver, Krassimir Stoyanov, Renato Huarte , Margarita Kozhevnikova, Andrew Wilkins, Nirmala Rao, Walter Kohan, Randall Curren, Meenakshi Thapan, Timo Airaksinen
We all have the overarching questions of educational reforms. What do modern educational policies really mean? What do educational policies include in order to provide the needs of people and societies? The question about market, network and state models of education, in other words, what are the main differences between market, business and education domains, between market values and education values? How should we understand the relationships between education and work and how to approach the limitations of neoliberal models and education policy focused on economic production? The question of dangerous trends and how contemporary dangerous trends for humanity are met by education or how education may lead to threats and risks, especially the manmade disasters? To what degree is education a shared and global responsibility? And finally, the question of the social world: what world are we building with the help of today’s education?
Regarding the first question I suppose that this is a question of who ought determine education policies and at what level, perhaps differently, not the way which occurs at the moment through those mechanisms criticized there.
Regarding the second question I suppose that`s the commentary on the dominant neoliberal human capital construction of schooling that would produce self-regarding individuals fall the economy and our projects about schooling education linked to broader set of outcomes and certain decisions on being human, will kompromat what we are doing really well, the limitations of our current dominant models.
To what degree the education is shared and global responsibility, - I suppose one specific manifestation of that today is the development of citizenship within nations. And we have a particular view of that in the idea of global citizenship and all of humanity and the idea of the social world, that is what's the sort of imagined future that we think schooling ought to be about.
Regarding education policy, the underpinning idea is that the dominant modes of educational policy in most parts of the world now became a part of the problem, and we are trying to imagine it otherwise.
I always used the definition of policy as authoritative allocation of values. And in this globalizing world, of course, there is policy discourse of the development at multiple levels: UN level, regional level, national levels and others. And often it allows discourses particularly at the global level coming through development agencies that are about the economic and human capital. As for the allocation of values, we have seen re-structuring of the state, of the way the policy works, and the free markets, network and state models. One of the dangers is certainly that in the countries, that I know well, the trend of education policy is the ever-increasing role not just of the policy elites but of business elites, edu-businesses, commercial interests, for-profit interests, and thus it becomes a question where actual policy-making is developed and who is developing, who benefits from it, what is the role of the network governments, people, democracy.
And then I think, the last bit of that definition ‘values’ is what really this entire project is around. but as I to the values dominating policy seem to be human capital so producing workers, so, a narrow production from education and individuals, rather than the fuller construction of the human and contribution to the social, to the collective of the society and indeed to the level of the global. So, the question of who ought to develop education policy and at what levels becomes a really, really important question.
Just a couple of other quick points. We also have to be careful about focusing on the values because I think, if we`re looking at policy, I think it is part of the problem and potentially part of the solution! maybe we`ll get back to it at the end of all our discussions.
The values make one contribution to policy, that the democratic thing… I think that the democratic thing through elections and so on, and I think, this is professional knowledge. And I think, what we are dealing with, probably will just be one contributing factor if we look in a realistic sense.
Two final points. What I`ve been researching recently is the way in which data, digital learning, assessments, accountability linked to tests, the role of edu-businesses and others. In the most highly cited paper on assessment is one produced for the edu-business, … that the way that big data, predictive analytics, predicated on the assumption that all social experience, all human experience can be datafied and that data can predict the future which of course assumes that tomorrow is a seamless progression of yesterday. And I think that we are trying to argue that tomorrow should be different from yesterday, that we imagine future ought to be different from yesterday. I believe this is a big question. I am starting to get worried in my context, in Australia. One of the biggest departments of education has a whole section, that department getting bigger, and they think that produce predictive analytics to formulate policy and to tell teachers what they ought to do. And this predicative of all human experience being datafied, I think that`s the danger within the policy frame.
I will just add to what is already been flagged as critical areas for discussion. It's important for us to problematize this: how is it that education systems across the world actually become uniformized? There is so much commonality, education is being driven by some very common kinds of things which is completely in disregard to the diversity of different societies.
And related to that is the issue of edu-businesses and other such things and the fact that there is a global epistemic policy community that's driving the whole discourse.
It also means that education seems to be going to slipping out of the hands of educators. Actually, there is a lot of different kinds of people who are coming to take that space, and this is not only for the school teacher but for the educators, the teacher educators and so on. That is because this is a very deep implications, for knowledge, for values and for purpose of the education because of this those are being sort of… left completely aside.
Also, I feel that therefore the question would be: how can we have, in the context of neoliberal education and so on, how can we have the economic production model for social development? Because there is a basic tension over there. And specifically, byer education because the economic discourse, to my mind, actually excludes the social. And it looks only individual economic self-interest which is becoming. So it's not only that nations are looking at economic growth as the only purpose of education but individuals are being trained to think that way as well.
So the question also becomes how can education facilitate a caring attitude towards nature, towards harmony with nature? We have learned from civilizations that have lived for millennium in harmony with nature. Do we need to understand the forward vision by looking at some of the past, by looking at some of the colonial, post-colonial, emancipatory struggles in different societies?
And finally I would say that education actually has, you know, focused on reducing poverty, that seems to be a dominant international discourse. But I think there is a very little focus on education’s role introducing inequalities. That seems to have got completely sideline. And poverty because it is defined in its very limited sense, we need to bring in a much wider understanding.
It is important for us to understand how education can help create a social world. There is a tension between the individual and the social, and I think we need to bring that back, so the question for us would be: “Can education play a role in enabling the social to become a part of our individual thinking, so that we are not just thinking of liberating ourselves for education but liberating others?” Because it's about taking us together.
How do we look at this question? And how do we look at it in terms of policy? And should policy alone drive and steer education or should we have as educators a right for place to give it a vision and an action?
I think that it is also extremely important to think about global epistemic justice in education, especially in terms of epistemic injustice - a term that has been elaborated by Miranda Fricker.
Yes, I think there is the enormous sea change in control of information in the world. And that is an aspect of it I think who is at the table? In the United States at the meetings of state legislatures the researchers, the educators are being struggling to get any seat at the table in making policy even at the state level now.
Just an example from India. Over the last several years, the issues of educational policy have been literally wrested by the chambers of commerce, FICCI ASSOCHEM and so on. And now rather than looking at policy emanating from the education space, people are looking at documents produced by these chambers of commerce as the last word on educational policy which is both a ceding of space as well as a disempowerment of the community of educators.
The second is the fact, as Poonam mentioned, looking at some of the millennial traditions. The earlier traditions that have something to contribute to today's vocabulary, especially considering that the axis of global power is now shifting more towards Asia. So, there is a responsibility that rests with Asia to offer conceptual alphabets that break the stranglehold of monolithic approaches to learning. Are we looking adequately at an alternative lexicon, at diverse vocabularies?
The third is about epistemic justice that was mentioned earlier. We often see Equity, Access and Excellence in higher education for example as a neat package and often overlook the tensions between them especially in unequal societies. That makes us closed to the uneven reverberations of learning.. So long as higher education remained the preserve of the elites, there was a lot of state money available. The moment it became democratized and access became easier for the so-called disempowered, suddenly the state has pulled back from investment. Is there a connection there? I want to leave that for your consideration. Everywhere the State is abdicating its rsponsibilty of sustaining quality public education.
I grew up in the Indian system which is highly specialized, state controlled and worked for 30 years in the UK which is not very dissimilar in terms of who determines education policy. In the UK it's primarily the Higher Education Funding Council through the persons it controls. Not so much this is the National Curriculum or what the content of what's being taught but in terms of the kind of research you do, the kind of people you employ with kind of qualifications and what direction teaching takes place.
But I must say just as an example in terms of access equity, that I've been fortunate to step into a very different world in the last two years to lead a university which was actually the brainchild of Commission on Higher Education that was established globally in 2002 , the Asian University for women in Bangladesh in a place called Chittagong. It operates differently. It's remarkable in the way the charter was developed and presented to the Parliament, in that it accorded only a certain proportion of seats for the local communities from the local Bangladesh which is only 25 percent and it was intentionally designed to promote diversity, so today we have students from 17 to 18 countries.
The university's mission was to identify promise and talent among disadvantaged women from very disadvantaged communities, particularly, the refugee communities so they're addressing problems of vulnerable groups here providing equity access to students from, secondary schools, say, from Afghanistan and we have students from Syria, Palestine, Yemen, all the conflict areas. It's a model, I'm not saying it works perfectly well but it's a way to think about how a private is versus the state-led institutions and what kind of freedom and autonomy they have in designing an education policy that would address the needs of who we are particularly concerned about, the vulnerable groups.
What I have deserved in Germany and other countries is a reduction of educational policy the concept of education it's a reduction to what is measurable that's what we have all over the world today as a certain concept of reality which is at stake and as the certain concept of the human being that has to fit economical needs. I think this is a very dangerous development because it reduces education to skills. And the other dimension for example the ethical dimension or if you take the development of the senses and sensibility, empathy and all what is related to that it has no official place in the school. The teachers are often more intelligent. They speak to these “old traditions”, old by origin but valuable traditions of education. But we have also a very dangerous connection between politics and quantitative empirical research.
I would put it that strongly because you know politicians often take what can be measured and they take it as truth and they don't see how things are developed and what the contexts are. But this is only a relatively truth! So I would argue then we need a much more complex concept of education. You might call it ‘cultural education’. This is in my view one of the major points for educational policies these days.
I would only want to share a thought about my experience. Even in governments, that have tried to give power to local communities after 70, maybe 80, maybe a hundred years of being centralized, in the best of the scenarios the educational policies were thought by very intelligent people like great philosophers. At least in my country up until 1945 they were like great thinkers and were thinking a way in which the state was built. That is no longer the case, not the great thinkers, nor the Great Central States. Now governments have thought of giving back to the people the responsibility to decide in different policies including educational policies. But I find that at least in my country or at least in my city - Mexico City that is one of the biggest cities in the world, people don't know what to do with that. And I think, we have to address that problem.
In addition, what our community defines as education could be very different from other community. Just to take as an example, the way in which an educator is defined. We can discuss what the role of the teachers and teacher education and further on, but for example at least in pre-hispanic Mexico the elders were thought of themselves as educators of the whole community. Now I feel that they are kept aside and whatever they say it is not worth any more. Maybe we need to go back to those traditional ways in which different communities thought of themselves as educators. The mothers, families, the elders or whatever other structures could help us empower the policies on the very local levels.
The questions which I would like to raise for us now and for the future World Forum. Is it really the case that education is totally run or steered by educational policies? Was it the case in the history of education and is it the case at the moment? Wasn’t it so that there is an educational policy and at the same time there is a certain living process of education which always somehow meets these political challenges and interacts with politics? If so, we must acknowledge this, and then try to understand this interaction in order to develop the most fruitful model of it.
Another question concerns the definition of educational policy. Shouldn't we understand political world in general not only as an allocation of values, but also as a representation of parts of society, circles, groups, members, especially their interests, visions, values? If so, shouldn't educational policies be defined in the same way? In this case, it will be concluded that we should demand from politicians the responsibility to identify which parts of society and what vision they represent. The underlying basis of educational policies must be made clear, transparent. And the idea of a human being is the most important among those that represent educational politicians, this point of view decodes a lot in their educational concepts.
In case, we discover the need for a variety of positions represented within the educational policy, we will claim our own right to be represented in educational policy, the rights of all educators and various movements that exist within education.
I'm thinking about education policy and how we can make it so that more people have claims over what education is and what it is for.
I think we have to remember the way education policy moves and is translated and rearticulated around the world. We should make no assumptions about the automatic translation of policy into practice. And actually, resistance and refusal doesn't always come through events like elections and changes in governments in fact, it is a daily activity that we do all the time.
And I'm thinking about schools and particularly operations of schools, about what becomes the technocratic embedding of neoliberalism within schools, within those daily operations and the people who occupy those spaces, the people who are put there to do that work, those who are ancillaries to market role and handmaidens to state control. I think one way is not just to disrupt but transgress the kinds of values we have within the dominant paradigm, namely through those daily acts.
And we see through the rise of not just privatisation management but also increasing expert administration -- this goes back to the comment about epistemic justice-injustice. Expert administration needs to be led by those with significantly better epistemic capabilities, for example. Derailing and ultimately transgressing the flow of neoliberalism means different people occupying these positions and practices. So it is about those people who are around us and doing the kind of resistance and refusal which may hopefully involve disrupting at that level.
I`d like to just come in here with supporting what Margarita said and that is exactly what I had in mind. Why do we all agree that business elites and the commercial interests drive education policy and the control of information is there and that educators are not in the form the policy is being initiated and being articulated?! I think, it is for educators to reclaim those spaces themselves.
And, indeed, this is already happening as well. So we must recognize this living process as Margarita put it, and here I'm talking about civil society initiatives. These are the educators who work as with alternative institutions, who are working with policy, who are not there for alternative in any real sense that is not following an alternative system of education, but have negotiating maneuvering around policy to actually bring in and address some of the issues of justice, of inequality by articulating enriching and embedding aspects of value of whether we call it human education or moral agency -- all of this into the curriculum. So when you talk about the hidden curriculum I don't want to see it only as that which dominates or that which prescribes the reproduction of society or the dominant interests in society. I think, we need to also recognize that there are ways of working against that and in that sense recovery agency as, indeed, these institutions or civil society initiatives do. I don't think, we should assume that it is policy alone which drives education. Yes, it's policy to a great extent, state initiatives, state institutions but what about educators and civil society initiatives? And the arguing that the living process is actually articulating all of us?
I think, we need to engage with that, we need to recognize that and bring that into the discussion. So, I think, we need not be pessimistic. I would like to bring that not optimism but recovery of agency, not look at ourselves as educators outside the state but actually how we can penetrate and what are the kinds of things we can do to actually ensure that we work around or negotiate.
I was reading some of the comments about what goes on in Finland, for example, where there's no history. they supposedly had the best school system in the world. So how did that get there? Is it an official state policy alone or is there something else happening on the ground? We need to recognize all that is happening on the ground.
Education and training are significantly different, I suspect at least in the West, in the North, certainly in Australia, the success of policy has been to focus on teaching and learning and not education. Education that you'd be missed out, so we're not actually after an alternative education we're actually after reclaiming education's place because by being reduced to teaching and learning only, now we have things like learning outcomes, which is very individualistic-based, and it tends to be very data driven in parametrics. Now the government controls the database of that kind of information. And when they talk about evidence-based policies, they are the owners of it and they simply disseminate what the policies are based on secret knowledge.
So I really like this notion of reclaiming what has been taken away and that's the notion of education. Thus, it is not the pressure to articulate an alternative view of education but simply to bring it back maybe to its rightful place.
It seems to me that what all of us were agreeing, is that it's the civil society which is responsible for education. That means policy people are important and parents are very important. They have an important role in Germany which was much more important than in France as a comparison. And teachers are important, of course, and the children themselves. It has to be considered as a common good. That what is education, it's not just that politicians have their aims, it is much broader. It is much more important that we all engage in the business of education, I would say that the civil society is actually the main concept to which I would refer education.
I want to go back to something that came up a moment ago which is the gap between policy-making and what actually happens in schools, and I want to connect it to the distinction between state networking and market models. I mean those models which are broadly speaking models of the provision of education.
I think, part of what I've seen in philosophy of education in recent years is a recognition that we shouldn't fetishize the market or the public-private distinction. Really, the actual effect of these different models depends a lot on the details and the implementation. We can have massive inequality within state systems, which are ostensibly very equitable recognizing education as a citizen right. So, I think, we should not overestimate the significance of those administrative differences.
What I've seen over a decade and a half of creating and sharing a program in education policy and leadership studies is that what makes difference is a point of entry between whatever happens in the policy sphere and what actually happens in schools and it's in the qualities of leadership within the schools.
Unfortunately, the humanities are getting squeezed out of the administrator training programs. There are maybe ways beyond the schools of education that are playing a role, but I think, we need to recognize the kind of thing we're doing, a way it can get into schools is in educating school leaders.
The last thing I want to say in connection with this is the significance of metrics. I think, we all recognize the tyranny, the problem of the tyranny of simplistic metrics. If you focus everything on measuring, certain measureable learning outcomes, it can be a disaster. But I've seen a lot of shifting around and what the metrics are that schools can use as to legitimate themselves, one is graduation rates. Now if you focus singularly on graduation rates, that, too, can be a problem. You focus singularly on the rate at which your students get accepted to college. That also can be bad, that can distort what you're doing, but if you're good educators within a system where those metrics are operating and you're not trying to game those metrics, you can do really good things.
I mean I've seen students of my own in very difficult city environments where the background graduation rate for students from very difficult backgrounds is below 35% and where they've doubled that graduation rate, with enormous ethical integrity the way they have done it.
So, I do think it's possible within any of these three different policy structural models if you have an opportunity as a leader to actually design your school on the principles that you believe in.
I have some problems with the term 'neoliberalism'. When we are talking about education in the broadest sense of human development we are using in the english-speaking context basically the term of ‘liberal education’. This is one reason for my uneasiness with the term 'neoliberalism', especially in educational context. In addition, I think that neoliberalism is a kind of catch-all concept. I would suggest to replace that term with terms like marketization of education or managerialism in education.
Listening to the conversation around the table I remember that famous aphorism of Eliott: Where is the life we have lost in living. Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge. And where is the knowledge we have lost in information.
There are extremely important initiatives like for example the Krishnamurtifoundation or what Nirmala’s University is doing which is the first University that is really looking at a kind of education for people from regions of conflict, people on the run, people on the move , refugee populations providing anchor and succor to pursue their dreams to become educated. But in many countries today there is the ascendance of populist regimes and the whole vocabulary is about the capture of power and the selling of xenophobia. Very often in these contexts, right wing Civil Society institutions are legitimized through government, through the state taking control of educational spaces and institutions and imposing regressive syllabi..
And now the business of assessment. You know we have a National Assessment and Accreditation Council in India. The process is about really an exercise of hierarchy and power when the so-called evaluators descend upon the University or college . So how they are received what hospitality is extended to them becomes a core concern.. Substantial resources have to be mobilized to keep them happy to get the requisite Grade in the evaluation process . So the idea is really about how you defer to hierarchy and less about how you empower institutions that are meant to be evaluated.
I want to mention what is relevant to what we are discussing. First of all what was predominant in education in the past, but especially now – is material success. Human beings are educated as computer parts, parts of machines, computers – this part for this, that part for that. You are good in this, and he is good in that. Such specialization is the source of evil in education. I agree, yes, we need the material, financial success, but if you see it as the most important thing then it is a disaster.
Look at the environmental situation, and the pollution. Many people are still not able to get even proper drinking water. And we are still talking about development – material development. The source of material development is environment, which has limitation. Can you make unlimited progress from limited resources?
So we have to focus more on a holistic, personal development. This is the way for you to flourish, to have peace, and all the good things. It is very challenging, difficult to do. We can’t just talk about it and then all go for material things and ignore it. There is no other solution but thinking in bigger perspective of human life. Human wisdom should not be shrouded and covered up by science and technology.
As for the many problematic symptoms mentioned and the deeper patterns underlying the current problems in the field of education and educational policy, I would suggest as a kind of explanation the note that this educational policy and educational management system suffer from a lack of feedback. I mean real feedback from the actors – the educators themselves. And if educational policy-makers insist on efficiency, transparency, and put on management, then the glaring deficit of real feedback contradicts the principles of transparency, good governance and, finally, efficiency. we can use this argument to fight for change.
Another consideration is as follows. Some of us mentioned the right wing. But what understanding and attitude are necessary if we think about global discussion on educational policy? In other words, will we invite the right wing to a future global forum ? When we think globally about educational policies, shouldn't all parties be represented?
And if so, we move on to the next question. What common grounds are possible and necessary for the global thinking of education and educational policy?
I want to emphasize what has been said about the human flourishing, to say that this aspect is not part of the agenda of policy because policy is what is society. Is society thinking about human flourishing? Is society concerned? ‘Society’ in a larger sense not as around the table, but with all the different vested interests. Are they thinking only about materialism and material culture or they also thinking about human values?
I suppose we also need to have a reality check when we are proposing something. We need to be concerned at how are we going to impact. It is not simply that we say that we have this and this approach and that this is how we are going to see education. But how is it possible in a society?
John A. Weaver
The dangerous trend is that we're inundated with data. It's just flowing everywhere, and we're being defined by it in many different ways but what we have to remember is that data always initially means nothing. And so we have a situation in education where we're not preparing students to know and to learn how to interpret that data, to make it into meaning.
You know, we talked earlier about policy influencers. You know, The United States' Governors Association is very powerful. Because they're the ones that really initiate a lot of educational policy in the United States. I've never seen, like Randall said, an educator there sitting at the table. I usually see people like Bill Gates.
Now why is Bill Gates famous? He learned how to give meaning to data and that's what made him a billionaire. And I find it tragically ironic that in education we are flooding our students and teachers with data but we're not giving them time to interpret that data. And that means Bill Gates and other oligarchs of the world will come around and do it for us. We cannot allow this to continue.
The strategy is to constantly take away rights from people involved in education, to be able to assess from outside. Why are teachers not assessing? Why a third party assessing?
Another dangerous trend that I observe is the way which definitions of good governance - as defined by World Bank, UNESCO - are creeping into national and local discourses. The ways in which school leaders and local governments claim they are 'serving the interests of our users' are often defined through these global abstract frameworks. Decentralization too also places pressure on schools to properly self-regulate in this way - an inescapable injunction of reform. And what you often find too is the role of social enterprises, charities and private sector companies teaching schools how to do this, making them a handmaiden of state control and market rule. This is a global education reform.
I think that dangerous trend is to think that whatever worked in one community or in one country will work in another one. We have to be very careful, because, I think, part of the problems in nowadays is a thought: oh, this works in Finland, it must work in India, and if it works in India, it will be wonderful in Mexico. Or even within different regions in one country. We cannot assume that.
All the discussions have been about creating our own spaces as educators and finding ways of actually teaching our students and not maneuvering the systems but having the space to influence in the way we can. But the dangerous trend, I mean again as a practitioner, I am caught in that tension between the pressures that come from the regulating bodies or outside of our control in terms of aligning ourselves with the expectations.
In the UK, for example, you'll find… the National Student Survey has just been released, and I'm on a couple of board of universities there, and the discussion was entirely what I know it's also around your point about what value do we, how much credence should we be giving to league tables because we know they're methodologically flawed, and we can challenge each one, each aspect of this.
And another question for me is what do we do as academic administrators. On the one hand, we are caught because these lead tables actually are a big factor and a key determinant of where the students want to choose, which universities they want to go. Or they influence parents in terms of sending their children to the very top and we know that in the lead tables, the top 10 are not very volatile, they stay there. The Harward's of this world the number one, Oxford, Cambridge, you have our history and the last 10 or 20 are also stable. The volatility is very much in that middling group. And in India we have these fantastic institutions: IITs, IMS — they never feature in the top 150. And yet, if you see the lead tables, they don't feature for whatever reason, methodologically flawed.
You know, we can challenge them. But as an administrator I would ask how do we reconcile those tensions. I want my institution, AUW, to be at some point in the lead table because of the uniqueness of what we do, but it will never figure because we don't actually keep to the measurements of how the metrics are actually measuring your performance. One of the dangerous trends of the lead tables.
I just like to add to this actually it's not only about misusing of education but you know we need to understand how the entire structure of education, the standardization of learning outcomes. You know, making education into a governance issue rather than learning knowledge, wisdom, developing understanding. That is the critical thing because that has been used by governments or by right-wing, whatever, to increase a populist understanding of what is nation or whatever.
The other dangerous trend is dealing with environment. The SDGs talk about sustainable development, sustainable development and using education for sustainable development. I think education itself needs transformation in order to even play a role in sustainable development. Speaking about sustainable development, using education for sustainable development need transformation of education itself, because as we have said nature has been exploited to such an extent that we do not have enough safe drinking water! So, in that context, the role of education becomes important
Another thing that appears to be the very narrow instrumental formulation of notion accountability now. So the extent to which schools are made to answer for their internal operations and the delivery of their provision, so a number of ways it can be formulated and defined up until, I suppose in England at least, we have notions of professional accountability, so the professional autonomy of teachers, some vague notion of democratic accountability, which is increasingly seen as risky now, to the smooth functioning of schools as businesses and replacing that we have notions of corporate accountability, performance accountability, and contract accountability. So what's increasingly dangerous now is the extent to which schools are being made to answer on the basis that they are amenable to the scrutiny and statistical mapping of external regulators and funders rather than those… rather than on behalf of the people that they serve.
The policy moved away increasingly from the discourse of education, and became a monocultural discourse. We have more performativity and the lack of appreciation of diversity, and even as one speaks about decentralization there is an overwhelming attempt at Standardization in the name of quality control. This “control” is making initiatives for decentralization less secure, which automatically leads to anti-democratic authoritarianism., it reinforces, underpins and legitimates it.
Try to say a few words about that and I would say of course in education has a global responsibility because we have global problems which threaten the future of the planet. To take the discourse of Anthropocene it's very clear that we are about to ruin the planet and we as human beings are the most important factor for the shaping of the planet in the 3 rd Millenium, taking the climate stuff, taking the non-renewable resources. Or take the plastic production. We produce 350 million tons of plastic - 350 million every year and what that means for the future. Or we can add many other things. I'm not doing it out but it's obvious that it is a huge challenge to humanity. We are playing the central role as humans in the shaping of the planet. Much more than earlier and much more than any other species and in that sense education is related to it. One answer is sustainable development education as the Goal number 4 – Education - is crossing the other goals too because they cannot be realized if there is no educational component in it. This is one point. And the second point is Global Citizenship education. Against violence, war. We still have 14000 atomic bombs. Imagine what that means. It means we can explode planet double times. And wars are often not planned. They emerge. A couple of things get together and things get out of our control. This is one more big challenge which adds to the problem of conditions of the Anthropocene. And we can go on and on. The big problem is how we relate the global problems to the locals and get the differences in cultures and ways of handling these problems. This is the challenge of the next decades. This problem is worked on in UNESCO, and there is some success and they are aware of this problem and then how they will manage this problem… Are we really able to solve the problem which I was just mentioning. Do we have the solution – it is a very open question, if education will be able to make a contribution to end of this situation. We have to take it.
A question about global justice and human rights. …the understanding is that the obligation to fulfill those rights is universal. I take just my own, - I can not say: the lack of proper education for people in distant part of the planet we do not have responsibility. We do have responsibility. I think, apart from the ethical case for recognizing the universal right to education is simply is that at that stage the dangers are so great and are so unsolvable without very robust global cooperation. I think there is no country in the world that is safe now, absolutely no country is safe. No country can say: Well, we're positioned in a part of the world that's going to benefit from climate disruption, it is absolutely not true. People believed in it decades ago but any belief in it failed away. I think and believe it should be of special interest for any country and any people who are in the position to help promote education for sustainable development should be doing it. And I had some involvement with the UNESCO decade of education for sustainable development I mean I've made a philosophical case for the principles of it, there were many challenges for that period 2005 to 2014, but even by the end of that decade I rarely met an American school teacher who'd ever heard of it, which is horrifying. There was some implementation of some countries but it wasn't great.
Christoph said something about if we can solve the problem. I have been teaching this for 3 years. That is not the right question. This is all about magnet to the human sufferings and what space we can preserve for human wellbeing. It is all incremental. Suffer and wellbeing – that is what we need to focus on.
In 1992 His Holiness the Dalai Lama launched a program which talked about universal responsibility in education. And it was much before people were talking about global citizen. Highlighting the issue of the global commons based on the understanding that interconnectedness with all sentient beings forces or exerts us to look at our thought structures, empathy and compassion. And look at what is it that we can bring that is common to our discourse and to our everyday living. Based on that there was a program that at the Foundation for the universal responsibility, where I am privileged to work, brought out program on education which covers not just schooling, not just university, but interconnections in this expanding circle of engagement.
looks at conflict resolution, inclusion, peaceful coexistence, ethics for a new millennium, __ harmony. The whole metrics of the global commons of education is to transcend borders and boundaries…
… how do we bring that into our everyday discourse on education. Rather than limiting it to just schooling. And looking at the environment as a learning for that to happen.
I would like to take that forward for the Forum that we need to overcome the ideological differencies at the Forum. And work together with others who have alternative or opposing ideologies which we and myself might find abundant. Learn to work together in order to come to really “human” understanding.
a quick comment regarding globalization and localization. It is important not to forget that people’s humanity comes from localities and community. Identifications and attachments come out of that. It is impossible to pull people out of their cultural __ and expect them to be ready to identify with set of abstract global ideals. Anybody with ___ cosmopolitan citizenship (?) probably knows this. It is also important to remember, that’s where humanity starts – with the local. And not to forget and overshadow this idea that we should be just the global.
What we have to clarify is our own profile. And we have a unique chance to build up this profile precisely by focusing on education’s global responsibility. The topics of global education and globalization in general are been seen largely as a kind of Western ideology. We, on the contrary, should approach global education, on the ground of the ethics or the philosophy that is proposed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
When we are talking about universal responsibility, one is a question of local and how we need to look at humanity at local level and that it is not something we can run away from, whatever universal aspects we talk about.
For example, it was really the worthy movement in the beginning we jumped in that created an international community responsibility to see that all developing countries, where education is facing several challenges should be able to be supported. And it continues. But it is that very international community with a very ethical commitment towards the global community has led to driving national policy to actually get uniformized and only outcome based. And we don’t know what that outcomes are in terms of our local aspects.
The STGs that are now coming which is a next phase of this global community - we should perhaps looks at this space as an important space to turn around this policy driven homogenization kind of effort. Because STGs in this particular context, which is up to 2030s, are actually interestingly framed. There is a lot of possibilities within that to turn it around. That is how I would look at it.
The real goal of education is also to make people whether young or in higher education designing people, when we talk of wisdom etc. Certain tensions that we were able to identify around the table as we discussed - maybe we need to flag those. How can education address those tensions. For example, individual and social. That is very significant tension. Rightwing people may look at it as rights versus duties. But that is not the best way to resolve the tension. So maybe we need to flag some of these tensions a little bit more clearly.
We have to be able to speak across difference and disagreement. That is the principal which should be the way we should perceive next.