Few issues are present in the collective consciousness with an assessment as favourable as education. As time passes, this privileged perception only grows and multiplies because within it is supposedly contained the economic solution for the poor or the continued success for those of greater fortune.
In keeping with that belief, the state and institutions of all kinds are on the same path, consigning to education much of the responsibility for our future and, in particular, equitable and sustainable development that we have not yet reached.
Not by coincidence, 22 years ago, most countries in the world endorsed the manifesto "Education for All", which called for increasing enrollment and improving the quality of education, that today has become one of the main topics of discussion, given the low priority level where it is now located.
Of course it is “education for all”, but how do we make it appropriate to the changing times we are living and to assume, consciously, that our educational model, originating in the Enlightenment and industrialization, has completed its cycle?
There in the endless YouTube universe, there are two pieces moving in the direction of attempting to transform education systems which still govern us. These reflect on improving what exists, and, yes, not only that, but also the contrary: they question the basis on which the systems operate.
The latest, released in mid-August this year, is an Argentine documentary provocatively titled "Education forbidden", which presents the arguments of students and educators from eight countries, dedicated to reviewing the columns that support our educational systems arriving at conclusions, with plenty of testimonials and rich experience, about their inadequacy at present. In particular, by what manner the school, considered the privileged path towards education, needs to be rethought outside the parameters that led Prussia in the late eighteenth century.
The other contains the ideas of Englishman Ken Robinson, whose proposals have spread across the planet and encourage debates that, without exception, fall on fertile ground. Robinson wonders how we can keep doing more of the same at a time when such rapid changes do not allow us to know how things will be in five years, let alone what will happen in a decade or two.
What we do know is that our schools, without any justified reason, still operate under the original scheme: rigid schedules, systems of equal evaluation, groups organized according to the year of birth of the child as a decisive criterion, defined curriculum to be completed, the importance of standardization of subjects where mathematics always occupy the first and the arts, almost without exception, are going to end the row. Ultimately, the criterion measuring success is whether or not the person attends the university, which in turn has become an institution producing the unemployed and the title that it confers is of little assurance, at least for the vast majority of graduates.
Already there is much progress in coverage of the issue, but quality discussion should occur, getting to the bottom of the question because otherwise we will fall short in making adjustments for the magnitude of the task ahead: an education in tune with the future and in keeping with the most challenging and provocative period in our history.
By Manuel Manrique Castro
Click here to read the original in Spanish in El Mundo.
Image credit: Covadonga website