According to H.G.Wells , “Civilization is in a race between education and catastrophe”, and one century later, we don’t know what side is winning. The social inequality gap, the humanitarian crisis that are affecting to more than 65 millions of refugees, the environmental degradation or the 800 million people still living in extreme poverty show us a context particularly worrying. Now, the race is on the game and the commitment in education remains critical to live in a fairer and more equitable world.”
For the GIAN Right to education and the international community, education is a key factor to change the current eco-social crisis. The lack of education or even the fragile fulfillment of it, not only make us think about some challenges in terms of the basic social needs, but they also condition the development of capacities, of models and alternatives suggestions, of the achievements of other needs, or the personal and professional self-fulfillment. As Manfred Max Neef proposed “needs, narrowly conceived as deprivation, are often restricted to that which is merely physiological and as such the sensation that ‘something which is lacking is acutely felt’. However, to the degree that needs engage, motivate and mobilize people, they are a potential and eventually may become a resource.”
In other words, not only we lack something, we maybe are plenty of other things but we need different ones. However, there is no doubt we must boost the capacity to generate new subjects and new forms of organizations that assure more equitable and inclusive societies that also are more respectful to its nature. We cannot achieve this without the benefits of education, if we understand the right to education not only as the access to the primary school but as an inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, as described in the fourth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG4) of the new international development agenda.
The right to education for all challenge must therefore be a priority of any policy, especially for those ones similar to the new agenda 2030, which identifies the main challenges that we must face to transform our world. The ability of the right to education to make the achievement of other rights possible, as well as the catalytic role to activate other social processes should place it in the heart of our work.
Education help us to achieve better levels of social welfare, reduces the economic and social inequalities, encourage the independently mobility of people, allows to improve our access and our conditions to work, opens new opportunities for young people, help us to deal with infectious diseases and unhealthy hygiene practices, improves our diet, contributes to remove discriminatory or intolerant conducts, support the familiar plan and the defense of the sexual and reproductive rights, benefit the political participation or helps us to build more democratic and pacifist societies. All these benefits are well known by the international community.
Nonetheless, if we review the results of the “La ayuda en educación a examen (ODAto Education Examined 2017)” that has been developed from three Jesuit Organisations: Entreculturas, joint to Alboan and the ETEA Foundation, you will find that the international trend from 2007 is the loss of the education relevance. This report shows a damaged perspective of the rights addressed to primarily problems that constitute the origin of many issues.
As they have pointed out in the report, it is necessary to recuperate the investment in cooperation, but they have to reinforce a commitment with priorities, which takes advantage of the hard work experience and shares the same goals with the agenda 2030. For this, education must have an essential role as the motor of change, as an instrument to build a more awareness citizenship of its own rights, but also a more judgmental society with inequality or unfair situations.
If we make this commitment and trust the assertion of H.G.Wells, we are still on time to stop the catastrophe.
This post was originally published here (in Spanish).