Sunday, 1 March 2009

International Education

There are those who react to this conjuncture with a certain resigned realism, searching for their children a way of turning them into images of the foreigner, by sending them to schools where the curriculum, the teacher, and the language are those of the supposed invader - As we say with all candor and pragmatism: if you cannot beat them, join them!
The typical, and we could say, natural reaction is, however, to scurry to the barricades, to decree the purity of the language and culture, and to punish severely any assault upon the established standards.
These mechanisms of self-defense are manifested daily, and reflect the great anxiety fomented by the dizzy rhythm of today's socio-political evolution.
Hence, the primacy of education as a way to beset’fears and to illuminate the new paths to be treads. An educational process capable of attaining these objectives must be founded on a vision of the world as a whole entity, on the equanimous acceptance of cultural and linguistic diversity, on the affirmation of the duly recognized value of the culture of each individual and group, on the conception of the human being and of the social aggregate as organisms in continuous development.
This new concept of education has appeared in many forms, some more complete than others" such as multicultural and multi linguistic education, or an international education.
International education, for many, may at first seem to be no more than a good language program, or for others it may consist in the acquisition to a thorough knowledge of geography; for some of us, Portuguese, international education may be the effort to maintain those virtues of cordiality and hospitality toward other people with which we like to associate ourselves.
International education may appear still to others as the search for knowledge about the world, the development of a good plan of contemporary studies.
For some it may be like a great a Noah's ark, where students from the most diverse backgrounds may be gathered to be taught history and geography, mathematics and physics, in all languages, or in a pre-determined home language.
It may be for others, to provide an adequate education to the ever increasing number of marginal students: the returned emigrant child incapable of functioning in Portuguese, the son or daughter of the businessman or business woman, euro bureaucrat, or foreign diplomat that establishes residence here. It may be still for others the concretization of the urbs, cosmopolitan and conscious of the variety and richness inherent in people from many lands.
The reacquisition of control over our reality includes a dynamic educational process that prepares men and women for a society where the hierarchies may be less and less hierarchies of power oveKL and more and more hierarchies of cooperation: where differences may cease to foster discrimination, but may become catalysts for development; where the concept of unity may not be an absolute synonym of uniformity. The metaphor of the global village appears, thus, to be quite appropriate.
The Town of Porto and in general the northern of Portugal will have its International school known as CLIP – the Oporto International School.

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