Sunday, 22 February 2009

Beginning a new concept of education

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 lingua franca. 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.

All of these points of view, although partially valid, are not sufficient to resolve the problems, anxieties, and challenges which are repeatedly thrown on our path. The lack of preparedness characteristic of our tentative answer to the exigencies of today's world is reflected in the fears and terrors mentioned a few moments ago, which so often provoke the emergence of the dark side of our frail humanity: dehumanizing racism, paralyzing complexes of superiority or of inferiority, purposeless chauvinism that lacerate the ephemeral temporality of our existence.
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 over 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.