Yes to educational freedom for all

Teachers, pupils, parents, administration; how many are the people deeply disappointed with education? How many people lack access to education because they are too young or too old, or because they are just not fitting in the school system? How many  times do we hear “I had a hard blow so suddenly I had to stop studying”?

Why should one only be allowed to learn at a certain age? Children have a more malleable brain and therefore have a priority to have the right to rise. However, the success of the “Open Universities” and the popular universities as well as the programs of validations of the acquired experience or training throughout life prove that there is a real demand and a real need  to educate whatever the career and age.

But, if someone is not fitting in the school system so well, should he be excluded from learning? Therapies must be accessible to anyone with a disability or a difficulty. Pedagogy must also adapt to them. In the documentary Tomorrow, the Finnish teacher interviewed says: “There is not a good method, there are plenty of them.” It is not for the weaker ones to adapt, but the reverse if we do not want to arrive at extreme situations where despair can lead to violence towards others or most often towards oneself. Welcome them, let us adapt to them and we will enrich ourselves. For example, it has been shown that teachers dealing with autistic students significantly improve their communication skills. If these teachers return to mixed groups, their students learn faster because the teacher expresses himself better. (This is also demonstrated in companies, when an autist works there the communication of all other employees is also improving).

Is education accessible to all, regardless of age, gender, social background or disability, a utopia? Would it cost more? Do we want to give ourselves the means to defend it?

To answer these questions, it seems essential to look at the different educational systems of the world and to compare their results. PISA of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is the most reliable instrument currently to do so.

– Use data to build better schools – Andreas Schleicher – Ted Talks: https://youtu.be/7Xmr87nsl74

– How Canada became an education superpower – BBC News: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-40708421

“Within three years of arriving, the Pisa tests show the children of new migrants have scores as high as the rest of their schoolmates.”

It is clear that the money spent on education is no longer a determining factor to guarantee its success. The best of the class, Korea, Finland and Canada have common points: an important salary allocated to the professors, the valorisation of their professional competences, a system of mutual aid, no dirigism and a total educational freedom to reach the clear objectives fixed by the Society. Only the results are monitored and when a teacher doesn’t manage his job, their superiors seek to help him, to find solutions to solve the problems he’s got.

In the OECD reports, another fact is striking (https://data.oecd.org/en/education.htm). Longer hours of class do not necessarily lead to better results. Finland with four hours a day manages to be at the top of the ranking.

– Four hours a day in class – and success – Newsroom: https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2018/06/07/114822/four-hours-a-day-in-class-and-success#

It reminds me of my father, who told me that when he was a child in Uruguay, the school was divided into three groups: a morning group, an early afternoon group, and a late afternoon group. This helped to minimise costs. He played football with his mates the rest of the day. This did not prevent him from pursuing advanced studies in French and in France. This recipe extremely simple and accessible to all.

Maria Montessori explained that in adolescence in particular, the priority of the young person is to learn social relations. Sports and nature outings seem much more instructive for teens than forcing them to sit down for a long time. Most adults would not stand it. In addition, neuroscience has recently shown that the pre-frontal cortex of adolescents is not completed (it will be on average around 25 years old) and that the sport generates growth hormones that also develop the brain. So where is the problem?

Finally, nowadays, a traditional school is no longer the only option for raising a population.

Take the case of Peru. The I.L.O. (International Labor Office) has launched a program “One iPad One revolver”. This program has met great success, many people have made the exchange and today the crime has dropped drastically while the population is more educated.

– One laptop per child: http://one.laptop.org/stories

The population today has other access to education than school, internet of course; especially if courses are filmed and put online (for example as the prestigious Stanford University, USA: https://youtu.be/dYZrA-NSsaU), but also libraries, associations, travels, etc. And knowledge about brain development keep increasing …

Allowing people to educate themselves when possible, with the resources that are right for them, leaves it to the public authorities only to provide care to those with disabilities and to give a helping hand when students feel in trouble. The human being is naturally curious and each individual is best placed to know what suits him. He just needs information about what exists and to be guided when he feels lost in the meanders of knowledge or learning. There is no need to force it. Only to give him access to resources, to accompany him, to set goals and to control that they have reached.

– Unesco different pedagogies: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002431/243126e.pdf

The United Nations defines global education goals by 2030. It must focus on sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, the promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence , global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity.

– Global Education Monitoring Report 2016 – UNESCO. https://eccnetwork.net/wp-content/uploads/Benavot-Aron-GEM-Textbook-content.pdf

Ignorance must die that knowledge live! Love understanding of others! Love mutual help! Love freedom!